The first mining exploration tests conducted in the SODICAPEI bauxite mine (France) have been completed, an essential step in the development of the SOLSA project in which the Eramet participates since 2016.
Co-funded by the European Union, the SOLSA project is an expert system that combines technologies from sonic drilling, analytical equipment and informatics in order to improve exploration efficiency and make a strong and valuable input for geometallurgy.
Beyond the technological challenge and scientific interest, it is also an incredible human adventure that characterizes this project.
It is firstly a collaboration of highly experienced partners from different European countries (France, Italy, the Netherlands and Lithuania) and very various professional areas such as mining and geological sectors (Eramet, SLN, BRGM), technical development (INEL-ThermoFisher, Eijkelkamp SonicSampdrill), industrial and academic research (Eramet IDEAS, CNRS-CRISMAT, Universities of Vilnius, Trento, Verona and Delft).
In addition to these experts, about ten young researchers or engineers have been hired for the project and about fifteen students of different levels (bachelor, masters, engineering schools) have been integrated, within the framework of the "SOLSA SCHOOL", during internships or training organized by the various partners.
About twenty-five members of the SOLSA team, representing the different professional categories, were involved in the field tests, and for most of them, were confronted for the first time with the reality of the field conditions. All of them have gained a very positive experience, mainly regarding the industrial challenge, teamwork, skills sharing and management of contingencies.
The SOLSA project reaches its fourth and last year. The teams will work on the development of the software to provide an expert system fully usable by the mining geologist from 2020 onwards.