Mining is an interesting sector because one of the most important questions project planners ask at the start of any project is how will the project end.
How will the land be returned to a usable and beneficial state once the mine has closed, whether that’s in a few years or a few decades.
Increasingly the answer is coming from above.
Where once mining engineers and operators relied on paper surveys and maps, today’s planners have an assortment of geospatial technologies available to them, such as drones, remote sensors and increasingly affordable satellite images.
It feels like almost every week I and the 3D Planeta team are introduced to new satellite image providers that are now circling the earth at various altitudes and sending back increasingly refined images.
Just as the image resolution from our smartphones is getting better with each new version, so too are satellite images. At the same time, space technology is leaping forward, lowering the price for entry for private sector players, be they start-ups or established players.
More images means greater access at an affordable price, making it easier to do site-level assessments throughout a project’s lifecycle.
Think what that will mean for mining exploration, operations and reclamation, particularly in remote areas.
Imagine being able to access accurate, near-time images of a site at any point during the life of a project that tracks the minute details of water stewardship, biodiversity and human health and safety, including ongoing monitoring of terrain, human activities, vegetation, tree lines, wildlife, and life above and below the water.
This could enable ongoing reclamation and environmental monitoring throughout the life of the mine, and enable companies to adjust actions faster and with greater accuracy, in keeping with the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Guiding Principles.
As I wrote last month, 3D Planeta specializes in providing clients and their stakeholders with something we call ‘situational intelligence’, which marries human understanding and AI analytics.
We begin by accessing a variety of satellite and aerial images, fusing them together to create a truly three-dimensional, near-time image of a site with a resolution so clear you can count the branches on the trees.
Then we build out from there, layering on other data points, either from other publicly available source, or client-specific information.
For instance, government-produced digital elevation models (DEM) and digital terrain models (DTM) are two key data sources that enable mine operators and regulators to monitor site restoration by comparing specific areas at various points in time. This is particularly helpful when monitoring drainage corridors for breaches.
Fusing these and other pieces of data, including data sources that reflect Indigenous and community knowledge, onto 3D Planeta’s 3D images provides clients and their stakeholders with contextual information to enable open and collaborative dialogue on how to address environment effects and cultural protection.
That’s situational intelligence: knowledge that elevates your decision-making by placing you in the environment, from wherever you are.
We make our best decisions when we are able to assess the environment live and up-close.
That’s what 3D Planeta brings to mining and other land-critical industries: we get you closer to reality so you can elevate your decision-making and build trust with the communities where you work, from beginning to end.
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