Using satellite data to improve mining safety

To prevent risks, like the instability of mining dumps or the contamination of soil and water, and optimize the efficiency of resource extraction, Copernicus satellite data will be used to monitor mining dumps and evaluate the potential as ore deposits.
(c) MOSMIN

EU research project MOSMIN to monitor and secure mining-related deposits.

Mining remains essential to meet the growing demand for raw materials. But there are potential environmental risks associated with mining, such as the instability of tailings dams or the contamination of soil and water. In order to prevent these risks and optimize the efficiency of resource extraction, twelve international partners within the framework of the European research project MOSMIN have set themselves the task of using Copernicus satellite and ground-based data to geotechnically and environmentally monitor mine waste deposits and evaluate their potential as ore deposits.

Mining remains essential to meet the growing demand for raw materials. But there are potential environmental risks associated with mining, such as the instability of tailings dams or the contamination of soil and water. In order to prevent these risks and optimize the efficiency of resource extraction, twelve international partners within the framework of the European research project MOSMIN have set themselves the task of using Copernicus satellite and ground-based data to geotechnically and environmentally monitor mine waste deposits and evaluate their potential as ore deposits. Coordinated by the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at the Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf, the project partners will develop and test Earth observation (EO)-based techniques over the next three years. The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) funds the project with almost three million euros.

Mining carries inherent risks, but it remains indispensable due to our need for raw materials. Mining activities generate residues from extraction and processing that are stored in rock waste dumps and tailings storage facilities. These materials can pose environmental and safety risks, such as geotechnical instabilities, soil and water contamination. Monitoring and assessing the risks associated with these deposits are important in order to identify and prevent hazards. To date, risk assessments primarily rely on sparse, in situ data collected on or beneath the Earth’s surface. Earth observation (EO)-based techniques are currently not used to their full potential for the monitoring of mining-related deposits.

Copernicus Earth observation and Machine Learning enable better monitoring capabilities

The Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF), leveraging its expertise in remote sensing and machine learning, aims to bridge this gap alongside eleven international partners. As part of the MOSMIN (Multiscale Observation Services for Mining-related Deposits) project, the scientists will primarily use satellite data from the European Copernicus Earth observation program and combine them with ground-based and downhole data. The Copernicus data provide insights into ground deformations and surface composition on a large scale. “We integrate the satellite data with information gathered by sensors on drones or on the ground. Using machine learning techniques, we process this data to detect changes and identify their causes,” explains project coordinator Dr. Moritz Kirsch from the HIF.

Pilot sites for validation

In collaboration with international mining companies, remote-sensing-based monitoring methods will be developed and tested at multiple pilot sites in Europe, South America and Africa. This approach allows for comprehensive testing of the services under different conditions. Novel, non-invasive geophysical techniques such as Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS), utilizing fiber optic cables as sensors, provide subsurface information to assess resource potential and risks such as internal deformation and seepage. “The integrative MOSMIN services and tools will improve monitoring efficiency and reliability, maximize resource utilization and contribute to mitigating environmental risks and the impacts of mining,” says HIF Director Prof. Jens Gutzmer confidently. Upon project completion, the developed services and products will be made available to a wide range of users and commercialized by three small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is an integral part of the EUSPA funding, which is geared towards technology transfer.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Moritz Kirsch | Project Coordinator, Department of Exploration
Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 4439 | Email: m.kirsch@hzdr.de

Dr. Sandra Lorenz | Project Coordinator, Department of Exploration
Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 4487 | Email: s.lorenz@hzdr.de

Originalpublikation:

https://www.hzdr.de/db/Cms?pOid=70951&pNid=3438

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.euspa.europa.eu/mosmin-multiscale-observation-services-mining-relate…

https://www.hzdr.de

Media Contact

Anne-Kristin Jentzsch Kommunikation und Medien
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

All latest news from the category: Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences (also referred to as Geosciences), which deals with basic issues surrounding our planet, plays a vital role in the area of energy and raw materials supply.

Earth Sciences comprises subjects such as geology, geography, geological informatics, paleontology, mineralogy, petrography, crystallography, geophysics, geodesy, glaciology, cartography, photogrammetry, meteorology and seismology, early-warning systems, earthquake research and polar research.

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