Effective Monitoring of Tailings Plants From Space is the Goal of a New System

Effective Monitoring of Tailings Plants From Space is the Goal of a New System

A Tokyo-based business and a London-based startup recently unveiled a new method for monitoring mine tailings facilities that combine satellites and earth observation with ground sensors.

Through this strategic alliance, Japan’s Synspective, a provider of SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellite data and solutions, and England’s Insight Terra, a platform for managing environmental and infrastructure risk in the cloud, will work together.

Together, the companies are developing an integrated product offering for the mining and other industries that combine Synspective’s SAR data analytical algorithms with Insight Terra’s cloud-based IoT Insight Platform. The combined system enables the merging of earth observation data with ground truth in close to real-time for proactive monitoring and alerts.

The companies stated in a media release that the Tailings Insight solution, which includes new InSAR capabilities, will be a breakthrough for mining operators, investors, and regulators looking to monitor and mitigate potential mine-related disasters affecting people, communities, and the environment.

The companies claim that a number of international companies are presently using Insight Terra’s mining product, Tailings Insight, for tailings dam monitoring.

In contrast, Synspective builds and runs “StriX” high-frequency, high-resolution SAR satellites to deliver superior data sets and solution services. By the late 2020s, the company hopes to have 30 satellites in its constellation as well as an analytics platform. It has already launched three satellites into their intended orbit.

The incorporation of SAR data collected by Synspective’s expanding family of StriX series satellites will give the Tailings Insight application strong capabilities for earth observation.

With the help of this technology, it is possible to keep an eye on land deformation and ground movement, which are danger indicators for probable collapses of tailings facilities, mine walls, and water dams, among other structures.

“Space has played a significant role in Insight Terra’s history. Inmarsat, the leading global mobile satellite company, is one of our founding shareholders and key partners, and we have delivered a number of innovative environmental monitoring projects together with Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA),” Insight Terra co-founder and CEO, Alastair Bovim, said in the release.

“Adding Synspective’s earth observation data strengthens our space-enabled data and monitoring capabilities and is essential to our mission to protect people and the environment from potential disasters like the collapse of the mine tailings facilities in South Africa just this past September,” the company claims.

The comprehensive mine monitoring solution that the firms will produce, according to Bovim, should represent a significant step toward safety and conservation objectives.