Fourth Partners’ Meeting

Organisations involved in the INDIRES project got together in Spain last week, hosted by project partner University Carlos III Madrid, for our fourth six-monthly progress meeting. We are now just over half way through the project and have recently submitted our first official report. Although that report documents the very significant amount of work that has been carried out to date, there is still a lot more to do as we approach the final year of the project during which several of the developments will be tested in working coal mines. Each project partner described the work they’ve been involved in since we last met six months ago, and also said something of their plans for the immediate future. Following the main meeting, and emphasising the collaborative nature of much of the work, several partners had a separate technical meeting.

After the formal part of the meeting on the Tuesday, we were given a tour of the Robotic Lab at the University Carlos III Madrid on the Wednesday. First of all, we saw one of the robots that’s being developed in INDIRES, for investigating parts of a mine affected by an accident, to help rescue controllers to decide whether it’s safe to send human rescue personnel into the area. We were then shown a wide range of robots being developed for other projects. Included here were industrial robots, a robot that is able to bore through the ground, and several robots that have been developed for medical therapeutic purposes.  We were quite amused by a small, fury, talking robot which is able to engage with children, with an initial application in the paediatric department of an oncological hospital.

Third Partners’ Meeting

The INDIRES consortium met together in Slovenia last week, hosted by project partner Premogovnik Velenje, for our latest twice-yearly progress meeting. It seems hard to believe that we have now met together on three separate occasions and that we are approaching the half-way point of the INDIRES project. However, the presentations given by each partner, detailing the work they have carried out in the five months since the previous partners’ meeting, served to illustrate the large amount of work that has been carried out since we first met together, almost exactly a year ago.

One of the strengths of the INDIRES consortium is its interdisciplinary nature. Indeed we have partners who are involved in coal production and researching new mining technology through to partners who are contributing their specialist skills such as radio communication and robotics. The underground trip into the Velenje Coal Mine was, therefore, a valuable experience for those people who have valuable technical skills but do not have a mining background. These people reported that the trip was invaluable in providing a better insight into the environment and the harsh conditions in which the equipment being developed in INDIRES has to operate and survive.

First INDIRES Newsletter

The full results of the project will be publicised in the official Final Report after the completion of the project but, so you can follow progress throughout the course of the project, we will publish project newsletters at the end of the first and second years of the project.

Published in September 2018, the first project newsletter provides some background information on INDIRES and describes some of our achievements during the project’s first year. You can view or download it from the Public Documents section of this website.

2nd Partners’ Meeting

KOMAG hosted our second Partners’ Meeting in Gliwice, Poland, on 18th and 19th April 2018. On the first day, each partner organisation gave a presentation on the research they’d conducted during the first 9 months of the INDIRES project. It was encouraging to see the significant amount of progress that has been made so far and the collaboration between partners, both of which give us confidence that a very successful outcome will be achieved. The first day concluded with a discussion of organisational issues.

The second day started with a presentation on their organisation by project partner the Silesian University of Technology. This was followed by a tour of the University’s laboratory and workshop facilities. In the afternoon, partners were taken to a nearby museum based around a former mine. In a change from coal mining, however, the mine at Tarnowskie Góry had been a major producer of silver, lead and zinc. A closing ceremony was held at KOMAG’s offices.

Kick-off Meeting

INDIRES partners got together for the first time for the project kick-off meeting which was held in the former coal mining area of the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, UK. On Tuesday 19th September 2017, representatives of the consortium each gave presentations, introducing their organisation and outlining the research work they will carry out during the three years of the project.

On 20th September we had a visit to the Mines Rescue Station at Dinas, which is operated by MRS Training & Rescue. Operations Manager Mark Tibbott gave a presentation covering the history of mines rescue in the UK generally, and South Wales in particular. Following this, Mark led a tour of the rescue station’s facilities, that are used both for operational purposes and for rescue-related training. We are grateful to Mark and MRS Training & Rescue for providing this valuable insight into an area that is central to the INDIRES project.

Finally, we had a fascinating visit to the Rhondda Heritage Park which is a coal mining museum based around the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery which operated from 1850 to 1983. Our guide, Graham, described the dreadful working condition in the mine’s early days and spelled out the scale of mining disasters in South Wales.

The explosion at the Senghenydd Colliery in which 439 miners were killed is well known. Perhaps a more chilling statistic is that, in the late 19th century, a miner was killed every six hours. While the mining industry can take comfort from the fact that such disasters are a thing of the past, there is no place for complacency and we hope and expect that the INDIRES project will further reduce the adverse impact of mining on the lives of those who work underground.


The INDIRES project started on 1st July 2017 and will run for a period of three years.