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Summary of Proposal GEO3239

TitleSAR for improving the safety of mining operations
Investigator Davids, Corine - Norut, Earth Observation
Team Member
Dr Davids, Corine - Norut, Earth Observation
Dr Lauknes, Tom Rune - Norut, Earth Observation
Ms Rouyet, Line - Norut, Earth Observation
Professor Knutsson, Sven - Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
SummaryThis TerraSAR-X project will contribute to the remote sensing requirements in the EU Interreg Nord project ‘REmote SEnsing supporting surveillance and operation of Mines (RESEM)’, which is a collaboration between remote sensing experts from Norut, geotechnical engineers from LTU and hydrologists and structural modelers from the University of Oulu (Finland). The RESEM project aims to develop new methods to help improve the design of mining structures and minimize the risks and environmental impacts of mining in Arctic environments. While demand for metals on the world market is increasing, the European Union aims to become more self-sufficient in raw materials. Northern Scandinavia is rich in mineral resources and increased exploitation in this region is therefore encouraged. However, mining can have a negative impact on the natural environment and there is often much opposition from local communities. Reducing this risk of environmental impact is therefore crucial for the continuation and further development of the mining industry. Previous accidents have shown that dam failure and release of mine waste into the environment is probably the most serious risk related to mining. An important aspect of the RESEM project is therefore to increase our understanding of the behavior of materials used to build the dam, and the effect of freeze-thaw processes and dam design on the stability of the dam. Being able to accurately detect and monitor ground movement in tailing dams and their surroundings would therefore contribute to improving dam design and safety and reduce the environmental impact of mining. Objective: The objective of this project is to use high resolution multi-temporal TerraSAR-X data to detect and quantify surface displacements related to compaction, material deformation and transformation, and freeze-thaw processes in dam structures. Furthermore, the objective is to investigate if and to what extent the results can be used to monitor dam stability and improve dam design. Method: Differential SAR interferometry will be performed to detect fine-scale surface displacements. We will investigate the potential for using advanced time-series InSAR methods such as small baseline subset (SBAS) and persistent scatterer interferometry (PSI). We would like to compare the high resolution TerraSAR-X data to lower resolution Sentinel-1 data. Data requirements: In order to fully assess, and to capture rapid ground displacement changes, we will require acquisitions during two snow-free seasons, over the same area with the same beam mode. We would like to cover one study area in northern Sweden during two snow-free seasons (approximately 12-15 scenes from 15. May to 15. October). Since we are interested in separating vertical and horizontal displacement components, we would like to acquire data from both ascending and descending orbits, with a relatively high incidence angle. In total we request up to 60 TerraSAR-X scenes. We request StripMap mode, Single Look Complex. The minimum requirements for this project are one summer season of data, one look direction. Deliverables: We will produce a ground motion map for each sensor and image type. We will produce time series maps showing movement throughout the season. The final report will compare the results with in situ measurements and knowledge of the material properties and age of the dam. All results will be published in scientific journals and distributed to relevant industry, technical consultancies and local and national authorities through workshops and meetings. Source of funding: The activities of this project are part of an existing project funded by the EU Interreg Nord program, so no additional funding will be required. Software development is currently funded by the Norwegian Space Centre, Norut, and the Geological Survey of Norway. The time devoted to the project by the project participants is funded by their institutions.

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