Satellite remote sensing supports planning, decision-making, and environmental monitoring throughout the mining life cycle, from mineral prospecting and exploration to mine reclamation. First, satellite data can be processed and used to support mineral prospecting to narrow down the area for exploration.
Satellite Images are then the basis for land cover mapping, which provides essential information about the environment in which the area of interest is located. This includes such important issues as the availability of access roads, fences, buildings, or small paths. As a result, the planning stage already produces efficient solutions and is a good use of time. Going further, remote sensing makes it possible to estimate the impact of a mining project on the environment in the vicinity, both natural and social, which is often associated with mining activities. Moreover, thanks to satellite imagery, it is possible to detect landslides and weathered rock layers, i.e., potential threats to people and infrastructure. At a later stage, constant monitoring of mining projects and time series data analysis enables to detect problems in time so that it is not too late to prevent them. Therefore, it is a technology that significantly impacts the safety of workers and people in mining properties. Satellite data enables quantifying the global material movement in a mine (exploitation or dumping progress) to support long-term planning and reporting. It also allows quantifying of the amounts of material in stockpiles.
The usefulness of satellite data continues even after mine closures because mine reclamation is a living process requiring both planning and monitoring. Monitoring reclaimed post-mining areas is also essential due to, among other things, the phenomena of land subsidence.
Satellite-based monitoring is essential in many aspects, so it is necessary to utilize it properly to avoid undesirable complications, act in harmony with the environment and prevent fatal disasters. Wide range of activities, access to hard-to-reach places
Remote sensing for mining in points
- Mineral prospecting and narrowing down the areas for exploration
- Land cover mapping and determining surface features of areas for project planning
- Tracking mining-related land cover changes
- Supporting long-term planning
- Monitoring and assessing environmental impacts in mining areas
- Detecting mining-related threats for people and infrastructure, such as landslides and subsidence
- Ensuring the safety of workers
- Reclamation planning and monitoring
- Determining the possible directions of post-mining areas development, such as agriculture or renewable energy