Researchers are finding that remote sensing is now an even more powerful player in mineral exploration.
Most mineral exploration is done in arid to semi arid environments, but what about areas of high-density vegetation that may contain valuable minerals? For ore prospecting in highly vegetative terrain, it can be difficult to use conventional methods such as geological mapping and geophysical or geomechanical means. Generally these areas of dense vegetation have been difficult to explore because of the masking effect of the high levels of vegetation.
However, recent studies have shown a difference in reflectance spectra of foliage growing over areas with mineral content and foliage growing in areas without mineral content.
Using ASD’s Fieldspec 3 spectroradiometer, a portable high-resolution spectroradiometer, researchers in Shujigou Copper Mine, P.R. China were able to measure the reflectance spectra of oak and larch leaves to reveal red edge positions and a shift in spectral data that implied buried ore under dense vegetation. The research supports the idea that minerals can be sourced even in high vegetation areas using remote sensing instruments.
The implications for this remote sensing application are far reaching as it can have a real impact on the global economy. Insofar as mines losing productivity and yield can have a renewed life in vegetated areas, and new mineral sources can be located in areas where it was cumbersome and not cost-effective to search before.
For more information on this remote sensing study please visit Scientific.Net.