The Army of Machines that Mine the Bottom of the Sea

A huge ship anchors off the shores of Papua New Guinea. It’s size is huge. More than 230 meters in length. However, this show is a trifle compared to the one that develops at the bottom of the Solwara 1 pit, thousands of meters deep.

Where the temperature of the water approaches 400 degrees due to the effects of volcanic activity, the mission of an army of machines that are a blessing of robotic miners prepared to extract the gold and silver that are concentrated in this area is developed, levels up to ten times higher than on the mainland.

The expedition is composed of three phases. The first is the explorer bots, the smallest but most manageable of all. They are like small torpedoes connected by immense cables that go down to the deepest zone. They are plagued with sensors of all kinds, as well as new cameras. However, there are times when driving blindly (mining operations muddy the water) and they have to pull the sonar to handle it.

The next group of machines are the ROV. They are the ‘workers’. Larger than the AUV -the explorers-, they weigh between two and four tons. It moves thanks to pressure jets. They have super precise arms, capable of taking tiny samples to manipulate them. They can drill with finesse any surface to check the interior of the rock and give way to heavy weights.

It is a set of three machines. First there is an auxiliary cutter of 250 tons, which with its huge blades crushes the stones to outline the rock with the desired figure. Then the main cutter, a monster of 300,000 kilos, comes into operation. It has, like its brothers, a huge umbilical cord as an electrical cable.  It is not as stable as the auxiliary cutter, so it moves carefully on flat benches. Otherwise it could be destabilized or stuck in a salient which would mean having to unleash a costly ransom.

Army of Machines that mine the bottom of the sea

The last to enter into action is the collecting machine. Basically, it is a gigantic vacuum cleaner that is able to collect all the collected ore and send it through a complex of pipes to the surface.

 

Source: El Confidencial