Geospatial data is the foundation in every phase of modern mining from mineral exploration to mine closure and land reclamation. Spatial data combined with other datasets replaces luck with science and provides mining organizations the tools they need to mine efficiently and effectively. Through geographic information systems (GIS) organizations can explore and calculate economic potential, manage risk, conduct environmental assessments and analyze other concerns affecting mining and exploration. Here are some of the many applications of spatial data in each phase of mining.
Exploration: GIS can help geologists accurately calculate and predict mineral occurrence. It is ideal for integrating various datasets such as geologic maps, images, geochemistry, radiometric surveys, and mineral deposits. During exploration, GIS also helps organizations manage, display and analyze data, resulting in the discovery of new mineral deposits. Spatial data is the foundation dataset of cost-effective mineral exploration.
Development & Production: GIS can be used throughout the development and production phases of a mining operation. Spatial data can be analyzed to improve safety and manage risk. Statistics such as estimates of reserves, annual planned production, and cost-per-ton can be calculated for a strategic look at mining operations.
According to TechnoMine, GIS can be used by mine planners to establish optimal locations for exploration drifts, crosscuts, sublevels, manways, and ventilation shafts. Not to mention analyzing the lowest cost path to route delivery of supplies to working areas.
Mining Closure and Reclamation: GIS systems are playing an increasing role in mine closures and land reclamation. A spatial database can provide evidence of legal, regulatory and environmental compliance along with critical information like the mine location, access routes, land ownership, and other pertinent documentation in case of an accident or mineral spill.
Spatial data provides the tools mining companies need to cost-effectively operate in all phases from exploration to mine closure. If you have examples of unique applications of spatial data in the mining industry, add your examples below.