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A real-time slope stability and subsidence monitoring service to improve productivity and to prevent catastrophic events in the mining industry

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MOTIONMAPPER (A real-time slope stability and subsidence monitoring service to improve productivity and to prevent catastrophic events in the mining industry)

Reporting period: 2020-10-01 to 2021-09-30

The mining industry is growing and is a key global economic driver, providing raw materials for consumer and industrial products, being Europe one of the most demanding regions of raw materials. Mining operations relie on large scale, continuing, and safe operations in and around geological sites, but with repeated accidents and non-complete monitoring of how operations are impacting the terrain, the issue is far from resolved.

Disasters occur, such as collapses of mining slopes, or ‘tailings dams’ with a release of chemicals leading to loss of life, interruption of mining operations and catastrophic environmental consequences: a collapse of a tailings dam may destroy natural drinking water and rivers for centuries.

DARES, a European company formed by staff with multiple years’ of experience in the industrial remote monitoring field wish to change this. We have been developing and commercializing an industry leading satellite-based remote monitoring solution. Thanks to this, we are already operating in more than 50 mining sites, being completely in permanent contact with the key players and users. Now we are adding Drone, Ground Radar and near-realtime processing to generate a complete wide area to local area monitoring and alerting solution. Called MOTIONMAPPERTM 2.0 it represents a ground-breaking solution to ensure safety of operations and to guarantee operational efficiency. We will see and report about the geotechnical precursors in advance before is too late.

Generating a new product category in a sector with clear demand, we predict a great growth for the company, in sales and in highly qualified jobs and most important, contributing with a substantial impact on the protection of the environment as well as the European Earth Monitoring sector and its technical expertise. We will save lives and avoid environmental disasters.
During the first twelve months of the project we have achieved all the objectives according to the plan. The development of the activities has been carried out in time and the milestones have been achieved. We have achieved the implementation of a compact Radar and being ready to flight on-board drones. We have demonstrated functional and accuracy capabilities of the instruments, achieving the desired milestone of 1mm accuracy for ground displacement measurements. During this first year we have performed a long-term monitoring demonstration during some months in autonomous mode over a mining area, being able to report about ground deformations. Demonstrating the system autonomy and viability for being operating outdoor. We have also performed several marketing and dissemintation activities performed some activities. We have increased our presence in the mining community by mailings, in workshops, dedicated mining magazines and specially in Linkedin. We have significantly increasing our presence as well in technical workshops acting as oral speaking, chairman and being part of the scientific committee. In general, the project continues according to planned progress. We are pleased with completed management and coordination.

This second year the development of the project has been affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly, we suffered delays from our hardware suppliers since early January that affected our technical developments. Later, we were locked down in Spain and borders became closed, therefore we cannot perform the field campaigns and the commercial actions planned for this year. Therefore, we were forced to ask for an amendment to extent the project 12 months to overcome all these problems and complete properly the actions. We expect that frontiers will become opened to perform our last and most important field campaign in Chile in a large open pit mine planned for March next year. Nevertheless, several actions were taken during this year mainly related with the technical developments in WP2 and certifications in WP3, and the accomplishment of the Spanish pilot just before the lock-down in February

The third year of the project has still been affected due Travel/mobility restrictions an the lack of integrated circuits for our hardware devices. Our team reacted very well to those changes and with great resilience the company was able to adapt to these new situations. During all this period the current satellite value added services we are offering to them mainly based on Copernicus EU satellite data have increased. In consequence, and thanks also to the help of this funded EC project DARES has been growing in all areas: employees, business, technology, branding, etc. We have performed and planned recovery actions for all these points and milestones and objectives have been achieved positively. Further, resources, travel, plus the initial communication plan plus risks and mitigation structures were defined, reviewed and adapted to this new pandemic situation. The project is fully aligned to DARES commercial aims and we have the team and processes in place to meet all its aims and to move forward with the commercialization. The plan for exploitation and dissemination has been clearly altered compared to the DOA for the second and the third year due to the COVD-19 but our resources and funding is secured for accomplishing those actions by the next months. We will continue during this third year with the satellite MOTIONMAPPER dissemination and marketing activities mainly in virtual environments and we will start with the first hardware sales in Chile in large open-pit mines.
DARES will implement a unique and autonmous slope stability and ground deformation monitoring system to provide, for the first time, real-time measurements with highest resolution over whole mining areas: We monitor slope stability for open cast mine slopes and ground deformation for tailings dams and underground mines. Combining market-leading European (Copernicus) SATELLITES, world first RADAR DRONES and new GROUND RADAR deformation services in ONE UNIQUE MOTIONMAPPERTM SERVICE.

We are working towards highest impact for (1) EU Private Space Sector (increased revenues and European employment), (2) the mining sector (safer and increased efficiency in operations), and (3) the environment (protected natural resources and our Planet).

The actual mines and their supporting structures can be vast making it complicated to ensure safe operations. Disasters occur, for example, a slope in an open cast mine may steadily shift and then suddenly collapse. A “Tailings Dam” that protects a lake of contaminated water from a mining operation may slowly move over years and eventually burst. Such events have been continually shown to lead to direct loss of life, to contamination of the environment (such as aquifers and rivers with the loss of drinking water and fish stocks), to the destruction of lively hoods and to years of reduced productivity with tremendous economic impact.

Our MOTIONMAPPERTM 2.0 will be a game changer for mining safety and also mining efficiency. MOTIONMAPPERTM 2.0 will be the only system that delivers data with mm accuracy, real-time frequency and 100% field-of-view coverage. MOTIONMAPPERTM 2.0 will be truly ground-breaking in this aspect: Complete real-time information about any slope failure enables the decision-makers to approve decisions with higher risk.
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