WP 5: Remote sensing in environmental protection and safety issues of mines


The aim of WP 5 is to develop the knowledge basis to create new information products, based on a combination of satellite, airborne and in situ remote sensing, to provide environmental information to assist mining companies during the planning, operational and closing phases.

Brief descriptions of each study are provided below with links to publised articles or detailed report.


Combining stable water isotope analysis and unmanned aerial vehicle based remote sensing to monitor treatment peatlands of mining areas:

Treatment peatlands are water purification systems located on existing mires. They are commonly used to treat different types of waters ranging from municipal waste waters to mining waters. In this study a combination of stable water isotopes and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based thermal infrared (TIR) imaging and color infrared imaging were used to monitor how a treatment peatland for mining water effluent was functioning. The studied area was situated in Northern Finland with boreal conditions. Stable water isotopes were able to spatially differentiate the treated mining effluent water, surface waters and groundwater in different parts of the treatment peatlands. TIR was an efficient tool to pinpoint cold groundwater seepage points in the peatland area not otherwise visible from their surroundings. Color infrared imaging was used to define normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for the area that can be used to monitor plant health and biomass. NDVI map of the area from the study campaign day during the main growth period of the year (summer time with +12 ºC day temperature) revealed areas with stressed coniferous trees. This was probably due to excess water in these areas resulting from a successful spread of the mining effluent to the wetland. This first combined use of the selected surveillance methods in treatment peatland was promising. They all gave their own information content but also confirmed the results from each other. Even though the campaign produced only a snapshot of the area conditions, all of the methods and their combinations could be valuable addition to treatment peatland management.

(Manuscript in review, for more information contact: pekka.rossi(at)oulu.fi)


Environmental monitoring with satellite imagery for closed mines

This report describes the results of a preliminary analysis of very high resolution WorldView-3 satellite imagery for the detection and mapping of relatively small mine tailings and acid mine drainage associated to abandoned mines. In addition, groundbased hyperspectral images of the mine tailings and vegetation in contaminated and uncontaminated areas are used to extract spectral features in the visible and near infrared spectral range. The report will discuss the potential of using high and very high resolution satellite imagery to identify relatively small mine waste dumps and associated environmental effects in alpine environments.

Report available here

Last updated: 6.11.2019