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Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Are Not Associated with Nighttime Light Emissions

1
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
3
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, GRID-Geneva, Bd Carl-Vogt 66, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland
4
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, EnviroSPACE Lab, Bd Carl-Vogt 66, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland
5
FWF Austrian Science Fund, Sensengasse 1, 1090 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J 2019, 2(2), 152-161; https://doi.org/10.3390/j2020013
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for J-Multidisciplinary Scientific Journal)
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Abstract

Maintaining records of artisanal and small-scale mining sites in developing countries requires considerable effort, so it would be beneficial if Earth observation data from space could assist in the identifying and monitoring of such sites. Artificial light emissions are common at industrial-scale mining sites and have been associated with small-scale illegal mining in some contexts. Here, we examine whether known artisanal and small-scale mining sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are associated with observations of night light emissions by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite Day/Night Band (DNB). Light emissions from the mining sites were not observed: the radiance observed from the sites was near zero and nearly identical to that observed for a set of randomly-chosen locations in the same region. While it is the case that DNB night lights’ products provide useful data in other resource extraction contexts, they do not appear to be useful for identifying artisanal mining sites in the DRC. View Full-Text
Keywords: artisanal mining; Democratic Republic of the Congo; night lights; remote sensing; VIIRS DNB artisanal mining; Democratic Republic of the Congo; night lights; remote sensing; VIIRS DNB
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Kyba, C.C.M.; Giuliani, G.; Franziskakis, F.; Tockner, K.; Lacroix, P. Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Are Not Associated with Nighttime Light Emissions. J 2019, 2, 152-161.

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