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UNEXUP is the successor project to UNEXMIN, running from January 2020 to December 2022 and further developing the submersible robot technology to provide additional manoeuvrability and robustness, allowing the team to start tackling commercial projects to investigate flooded environments in mines, caves, and wells.

In March 2022 the team visited Ecton Mine, to carry out further dives in the pumpung and winding shafts, and to go through a connecting ‘window’ between the winding shaft and the main pipe working that was discovered in 2019, to explore parts of the pipe working that had not already been visited.

In addition to the new robot developed by the project team, commercial submersible ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) were also acquired by the project consortium, with the purpose of carrying out preliminary site inspections. One of these, a BlueROV2 from Blue Robotics Ltd, was deployed three times at Ecton, in September 2021, March 2022, and September 2022, and although it carries only one camera rather than the six that are provided on the UX1-NEO robot, it has provided valuable additional data.

There is now a very large volume of data which will lead to papers in Mining History and other journals, as well as providing raw material for university researchers.

5 cameras view from the UX1-NEO robot
Ladder found at 15m depth, at the bottom of the South Winze