EU’s PERSEPHONE Project: Innovating deep mining for sustainable resource extraction

The growing need for critical raw materials is pushing mining companies to explore minerals at deeper levels. This challenge the current mining practices and traditional technologies in maintaining profitability while aligning with the latest environmental vision and ensuring the safety of human workers. A crucial factor in overcoming these challenges and promoting sustainable growth in the mining industry is the creation and implementation of cutting-edge technologies aimed at efficiently extracting raw materials in a resource-conscious manner within the European Union.

The PERSEPHONE project aims to develop autonomous drilling machines tailored for significant depths. These machines, considerably smaller (three to four times) than current machines, address the inherent reduction in tunnel size at greater depths. The compact design allows them to navigate tight tunnels effectively, resulting in both enhanced precision and a minimized environmental footprint. The correlation between smaller machinery and increased precision contributes to the project’s goal of advancing sustainable and efficient drilling technologies.

The project’s ultimate goal is two-fold: firstly, to diminish the environmental impact by introducing cutting-edge technologies, and secondly, to access minerals at greater depths, thereby securing Europe’s mineral supply chain. Given the current dependence on imported critical raw materials, contributing to this initiative is a step toward fostering European independence, reducing reliance on external sources, and ensuring a more sustainable and self-sufficient future, says George Nikolakopoulos, Professor of Robotics and AI.

With a budget of 5 million euros, the 3-year project is supported by a consortium of 10 partners from six different countries. At the heart of project dynamics, ProcessIT Innovations plays a pivotal role in project management, guiding innovation, and standardization efforts. Actively driving project exploitation, Process IT ensures tangible real-world impacts, showcasing their commitment to practical outcomes.