High resolution satellite imagery is almost always required for mining and exploration projects which have passed first stage approvals and analysis. With the spatial resolution of many high resolution satellites now below 1m, and geometric accuracies constantly improving, they are increasingly being used instead of aerial photography.
In addition, some high resolution satellites have the capability of producing high resolution digital elevation models. In the past this would not have been possible, and expensive aerial surveys would have been the only option. However satellites such as Worldview 1/2 and Geoeye-1 can obtain stereo imagery for areas as small as 100km2, and produce elevation contours of up to 1m spacing.
Major uses for high resolution satellite imagery for mining and mineral exploration
- Great aerial photo replacement with additional spectral bands
- Assists with topographic mapping
- Basic mineral mapping (up to 1.04 µm)
- Mapping of geomorphic features such as folds and faults
- Base line mapping and exploration planning (drill holes etc)
- Can be used for mine site planning
- Ore stock pile classification and mapping
- Mine site environment analysis and assessment
- Susceptible vegetation mapping (change detection)
- Resource modelling (done through the creation of digital elevation model from stereo paired high resolution imagery)
Scantherma recommends the following high resolution satellite sensors for mining and mineral exploration applications:
What else is out there?
Other satellites and sensors which can be used for high resolution mining and mineral exploration purposes include:
- Quickbird: the hugely popular precursor to the Worldview 1 and 2 satellites. 0.6m pixel resolution imagery is archived from 2002
- IKONOS: the precursor to the GeoEye-1 satellite. 0.82m pixel imagery is archived from 1999