Earth Observation in support of mineral industry sustainable development - The EO-MINERS project - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2013

Earth Observation in support of mineral industry sustainable development - The EO-MINERS project


Non-energy raw materials are vital inputs for the EU's economy and maintaining fair and undistorted access to these materials for EU industry and citizens is increasingly difficult. Within the EU, exploration and extraction have to face increased competition for different land uses and a highly regulated environment. While the EU is currently dependent on the importation of many metals, the overall potential for mining and quarrying in Europe is strong. In spite of this, the land area available for extraction in the EU is constantly decreasing, turning access to land into a key challenge for the extractive industry. The EOMINERS project aims at contributing to demonstrate how to improve the EU capacity in implementing new mining sites and their societal and environmental acceptability. The overall aim of EO-MINERS (Earth Observation for Monitoring and Observing Environmental and Societal Impacts of Mineral Resources Exploration and Exploitation) is to bring into play EO-based methods and tools to facilitate and improve interaction between the mineral extractive industry and the society in view of its sustainable development while improving its societal acceptability. EO offers a unique opportunity to collect necessary spatial parameters that play a key role for better assessments of mining-related environmental and societal impacts. It could enable the development of means to identify the site-specific environmental and societal footprints of mineral resource extraction and to determine their respective significance. This understanding of global and cumulative footprints along a causal chain is needed in order to target policy measures. In this way the expected reduction of environmental and societal footprints in the mining sector can be most effective for the environment and more cost-efficient for public authorities and commercial operators. The project first defined environmental, socio-economic, societal, and sustainable development indicators and criteria that can possibly be dealt with using EO techniques. After an analysis of policies related to the environmental and social footprint of mineral industries, project expertise and stakeholder interviews (national and on-site) as well as site investigations led to the establishment of a list of indicators to be monitored, either directly or indirectly, through accessible parameters. Development of EO-based monitoring tools is then carried out over three demonstration sites: the lignite open pit of Sokolov in Czech Republic, the Mpumalanga coalfield centred on the town of Emalahleni (previously Witbank) in South Africa, and the Makmal gold mine in Kyrgyzstan. From these developments, it is subsequently intended to contribute to the development of generic, standardised EO data integration schemes, in particular in view of characterising affected ecosystems, populations, and societies and prepare indisputable documents that will make the basis for a sound "trialogue" between industry, governmental organisations, and stakeholders. This paper discusses results obtained after three years into the project, focusing on product development over the demonstration sites and their relevance to the observation and monitoring of environmental and societal footprints of the extractive industry.
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hal-00905506 , version 1 (18-11-2013)


  • HAL Id : hal-00905506 , version 1


Stéphane Chevrel. Earth Observation in support of mineral industry sustainable development - The EO-MINERS project. 23rd World Mining Congress 2013, Aug 2013, Montreal, Canada. paper 221. ⟨hal-00905506⟩


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