Institut für Geotechnik und Markscheidewesen > Abteilungen > Markscheidewesen und Geoinformation > Forschung > Assessing and monitoring the environmental impact of mining activities in Europe using advanced Earth Observation techniques

Assessing and monitoring the environmental impact of mining activities in Europe using advanced Earth Observation techniques

brief description:

The MINEO project aims to:

Develop the advanced methods for the extraction of information and knowledge from Earth Observation data, which will be required in the future in order to provide the European Community and users (industry, decision makers) with new and regularly updated thematic layers for an environmental database related to mining areas, active, planned or abandoned, and to develop operational tools for preparing and updating these layers;

Develop key components of the decision making tools necessary to exploit Earth Ob-servation information and knowledge in environmental management systems and fa-cilitate their use in sustainable information systems to locate and monitor environmental risks related to European mining sites, and thus to aid the environmental man-agement decision processes.

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Environmental Management Plans (EMP) can take advantage of regularly updated environmental database layers related to mining environments. Innovative Earth Observation (EO) techniques being developed by the Consortium of European Geological Surveys members of EuroGeoSurveys) Remote Sensing Topic Network ( and their partners can meet this demand. Hyperspectral imaging sensors produce data that can characterise the chemical and/or mineralogical composition of the imaged ground surface. The primary advantages of this future spaceborne imaging technique are the reduction in conventional, time-consuming and expensive field sampling methods and their capability to gather repeat data and so monitor mining pollution.

Earth Observation data, when integrated into Geographic Information Systems and combined with other data relevant to environmental concerns, have been proven valuable in the environmental impact assessment of mining, both at local and regional scales. In particular, they can be used in the production of pollution-risk maps around mining areas. It is therefore proposed to develop the contribution of various Earth Observation techniques further. The most advanced current airborne hyperspectral sensors will be used to detect minewaste pollution and soil/aquifer contamination. In particular, their capabilities in detecting and discriminating major pollutants will be assessed and validated during field campaigns. Regular acquisition of such high-resolution, remotely sensed geographic information will help the Community to set up a realistic, sustainable and coherent environmental management and monitoring strategy at European scale.

To undertake the envisaged developments, six mining areas, five within Europe (Portugal, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and Finland) and one in Greenland have been selected for investigation, to reflect European climatic, geographic and socio-economic environment diversity.

REALISATION: Andreas Brunn, Christian Fischer

More information

Note: MINEO project leader wins research price of DSK in 2004

The presentation transparencies from the first MINEO Workshop in Viena/Austria are available here

Information and announcements for the second MINEO Workshop in Orleans/ France can be found here


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