What kind of technologies are going to be tested and how do they exactly work?
We are going to be measuring the naturally existing magnetic and gravity fields and artificially induced electromagnetic fields. This will involve use of non-invasive sensors that will be carried underneath or in helicopters.
These geophysical techniques are commonly used in exploration of natural resources and also in environmental and engineering studies.
For more information, please visit the technical description section of this website (coming soon).
How much does this technology reduce ground work?
The INFACT project is using these technologies to test their effectiveness and to determine how much they can reduce the need for ground work such as drilling and associated disturbance.
However, it is likely that some amount of drilling will always be needed to define mineral deposits.
What are the specifications of the helicopter’s flights? A) How long do they last and how many hours do they fly during those days? B) How high and fast do they fly and how much noise do they generate?
Lengths of the flights are available at the flight schedule section of this website (coming soon). Each flight campaign will last approximately one week in each reference site. The maximum flight time per day depends on the legislation of the country. It is usually five hours per day and six days a week.
The helicopters will generate a similar amount of noise to a rescue or police helicopter. The overflight noise level is 84,4 dBA SEL (A-weighted Decibels Sound Exposure Level). The geophysical equipment does not generate any noise.
The helicopters will fly at heights ranging from a minimum of 60 to 200 meters above the ground. The geophysical sensors, carried below the helicopters will be between 30 and 100 meters above ground. These heights will vary between these parameters according to the terrain. The speed of the helicopter is quite slow comparatively, at around 90-100km/h.
How is the research data analyzed and when will it be possible to see the results?
Data is collected in each of the reference regions by our local partners. It will be analyzed by the technical specialists involved in the project.
The results will be published via scientific publications, open access journals and through this webpage.
The exact date at which our results will be available is still being determined and these FAQs will be updated accordingly.
Are there any planned events that everyone can join?
Will the survey equipment or researchers record personal data or take photos of individuals?
No. The research equipment only measures geophysical fields and topographic data; it cannot take any photos or record any other information.
Any information collected at the public events will be in accordance with the latest EU regulations on data protection (GDPR).
Where do the research equipment and the companies that own it come from?
The INFACT project is working with European companies that are specialists in the use of these technologies. They are using research equipment that comes from Germany, Denmark, Spain and South Africa.
What is the project's relationship with mineral exploration and mining companies?
The INFACT project is independent of the mining industry. The three reference sites have been chosen because of their known geological, environmental and social features, not to identify new mineral deposits.
The exploration and mining companies involved in the project are partners providing access to exploration sites that they have already mapped, so that the results from the exploration technologies being used can be cross referenced against the known geology of the area.
This will enable the project to research and develop exploration technologies and protocols that are environmentally and socially responsible and acceptable.
What does ‘permanent reference sites’ mean and which implications would they have?
The term ‘permanent reference sites’ is used as it is the intention for the reference sites to become long term test sites for geological exploration technologies and to ensure that the respective technologies consider both the environmental and social conditions and achieve acceptance.
For this reason we value your feedback on any aspects of the project.
What about drones?
Drones will not be used during the flight campaign of 2018. These require even more innovative equipment and we need feedback from the helicopter campaign to program the flights. They will be used next summer, in 2019.
Does the research equipment have any health effects or health risks?
Most of the innovative methods being tested by the INFACT project are ‘passive’, meaning that the equipment produces no energy of any kind and present no harm to human health.
However, some of the technologies that are going to be used generate small electromagnetic fields. Tests on the potential health risks associated with these technologies have shown negligible effects to human health. Indeed, their field strength and frequency at any location over flown by the helicopter are similar to that emitted by an electric cooker plate, being both orders of magnitude lower than the natural Earth’s magnetic field.
Flight paths and times will be scheduled to minimize any potential disturbances or cause a nuisance to people living in the area.
Can the research equipment affect electronic devices such as mobile phones, TV antennas or heart pacemakers?
Most of the sensors are ‘passive’ technologies that simply measure the existing electromagnetic and gravitational fields. These do not interact with other signals.
However, some of the technologies are ‘active’ and generate small electromagnetic fields. It is possible, although very unlikely, that these may cause temporary interference to mobile phone networks and radio or TV signals.
The intensity of these signals at the ground are similar in strength and frequency to the one emitted by an ordinary household electric cooker plate. Consequently, heart pacemakers and other sensitive devices should not be affected by the fields generated.
Does the research have impacts on the environment and animals, such as wildlife, farm animals or pets?
The research equipment and technologies will have no impact, positive or negative, on the environment.
The noise of helicopters may disturb sensitive animals, but will not harm them.
The INFACT project will pay special attention and consideration to wildlife and livestock when planning the flight campaigns.
Can the helicopter, the drones or the equipment hit antennas, powerlines, cables or other structures? Can the equipment attached to the helicopter fall or break?
The helicopter pilots are all experienced certified professionals who will do their utmost to minimize any such risks.
The drones will also be flown by qualified professionals who will follow standard safety procedures in planning and operation of the drones.
The equipment and associated mechanisms are certified in accordance with EU safety and security requirements.
Do people or man-made artifacts or structures influence the measurements?
People have no effect on the measurements but some artificial structures can do.
For example, powerlines and other large metallic structures have to be taken into account when doing the measurements as they may affect the electromagnetic fields. However, populated areas will be avoided as much as possible.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 776487.