Satellite-Based Hyperspectral Analysis for Improved License to Operate and Lifecycle Operations in Mining

R.P. Weaver
Orbital Sidekick,
United States

Keywords: Satellite, Monitoring, Hyperspectral, AI/ML, Community Trust, Exploration, Tailing Ponds, Closure, Rehabilitation


We have all observed during recent years the proliferation of new satellite technologies that have been deployed into orbit. With a commoditization of cube sats and the dawn of retail ride-sharing for payloads to be placed in low earth orbit, customized satellite applications are quickly becoming commonplace. Hyperspectral imagery is not a new technology for the mining industry - it has been utilized with ground-level and aerial platforms in the past, as well as from government platforms. But today, several satellite companies seek to change the dynamics for commercial mining operators to cost-effectively access hyperspectral insights over their assets, essentially "on demand," anywhere in the world. In this presentation, you will learn how one company is working to provide tailored hyperspectral data collection, analysis and reporting to global mining operations beginning in late 2022 through the availability of a new satellite constellation focused on the industry. Hyperspectral analysis has historically contributed to deriving insights regarding mineral exploration. With improvements in access to underlying data, plus dramatic advances in analytical capabilities, hyperspectral information will also begin to lend operational insights for improved tailings monitoring and pond integrity, as well as stewarding the progress in mine closure and site rehabilitation activity. It is no secret that historical mine abandonment and broken promises by some operators, as well as a small number of high profile and devastating mine failures, have left a tainted reputation for the industry in many communities. And now in North America, compelling national interests for more self-reliance in critical and rare minerals raise the prospect of the most rapid expansion in mining in our lifetime. The unprecedented opportunity, however, is also being met by very real opposition from communities to activists to a permitting process that is protracted and unpredictable even in the best of circumstances. This session will further explore how tailored hyperspectral data and analysis - in addition to pure operational benefits across the mining lifecycle - can also be used to regain or establish trust in existing communities as well as the countless new communities where we seek to begin new operations. The speaker for this session, Peter Weaver with Orbital Sidekick, has a career that includes over three decades across all facets of oil and gas, including national policy and industry advocacy prior to his joining Orbital Sidekick for the purpose of delivering hyperspectral insights for improved efficiency and resiliency across the energy sectors. He has a passion for educating communities on the essential need to have cost effective access to affordable energy, while empowering operators to meet these needs in a responsible and sustainable fashion.