Space-Enabled Applications for the Mining Sector Workshop

Anastasia Bolton
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On 28 November, the Satellite Applications Catapult, European Space Agency, and United Nations Crime Institute (UNICRI) hosted a workshop to discover how space-enabled applications could support mining industry.

The workshop was held at ECSAT on Harwell Campus and presented the main challenges faced today by mining sector stakeholders. During the workshop key businesses from the space industry showcased the potential of space technologies and assets to address those challenges and develop new solutions using space.

A variety of topics were addressed during the day and below are just some challenges raised and solutions offered.

We looked at the monitoring and improvement of mining operations with challenges on how to identify the location of closed sites and monitor existing tailing dams or how to ensure investors that your operations are compliant with climate change policies. Space technology offers the opportunity to monitor, measure, and detect, changes with data going back more than 30 years.

The challenge of ecological restoration was raised within the topic of environmental monitoring of mining sites. Solutions offered by space were online-based platforms integrated with environmental and satellite data providing stakeholders with the next steps needed for restoration. During discussions we also established challenges around water.

Within a session of safety and security of the mining supply chain, we raised the challenge of illegal mining connected to other illegal activities in chain and space technology can help with the detection of those activities.

The mining industry brought up a lot of challenges within the facilitation of social engagement and pointed into how can we enable better communication and understanding between communities and mining companies, can satellites help with a social license to operate? Solutions with space are proven to be very visual what helps to provide insights in a simple form and create trust and transparent dialogue about a variety of aspects and concerns.

At the end of the Workshop we launched the MineSense group to provide a platform for stakeholders of the mining and space industries to collaborate and discuss new technologies, opportunities, and solutions to solve challenges of mining industry using space technology. Take a look and join group here.