Whilst reserves within the UK have become depleted over the past 20 years, this presents the mining sector with additional technological challenges to firstly develop new processes to mine this reserve; secondly to develop techniques to identify potential new areas and to identify new minerals not currently mined and identify commercial applications for these. In addition, there is considerable activity to improve working conditions, increase efficiency and minimise environmental impacts. Mining is very cyclical with long project lead times and whilst R&D may not be claimable throughout the whole life span of the project it can potentially be claimed for short phases.
Examples of eligible R&D activities:
- Developing the construction and operation of a field pilot plant to obtain engineering and other data on applications, conditions, interactions, relationships, equipment and environmental effects;
- Developing a process for re-entering existing vertical wells to convert them to horizontal wells;
- Developing an in-situ cyclic steam stimulation process for oil recovery;
- Developing new or improved processes for extraction;
- Modelling specific field applications in new locations includes feasibility tests as well as pilot schemes designed to resolve specific technological questions;
- Developing ventilation and gas management systems to meet health and safety legislation;
- Developing portable hand-held technology for analysing chemical elements in rock in-situ;
- Developing IT systems for real-time monitoring of seismic activity.