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Applications of Geographic Information Technologies in Sustainable Mining

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020) | Viewed by 20155

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, 50-370 Wroclaw, Poland
Interests: modeling and analysis of natural and anthropogenic systems in geographic information systems (GISs); spatial statistics; spatial information infrastructure; deformation of mining and post-mining areas; mining surveying
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Mine Surveying and Geodesy, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, 09599 Freiberg, Germany
Interests: geomonitoring; geostatistics and optimization in mining; mining impact prediction, mine surveying
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Geoengineering, Mining and Geology, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Wroclaw, 50-370, Poland
Interests: satellite radar interferometry (InSAR); surface deformations in mining and post-mining areas; atmospheric delays in InSAR calculations; terrestrial laser scanning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability has become a key issue for industries globally, including mining. Mineral excavation benefits economies and at the same time impacts the surrounding environment and society. The environmental, social and other issues connected with mining need to be studied and assessed to provide the information necessary to facilitate sustainable mining operations. Geographic information technologies, including data acquisition techniques, data processing methods and analytical methodologies play an increasing role in providing reliable information and prediction models facilitating the minimization of the adverse effects of mining operations.

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers addressing current and state of the art methods and techniques of remote sensing, as well as spatial analysis and modelling applied to problems associated with the effect of mining on the environment.

The scope and potential topics cover, but are not limited to:

  • remote sensing of mining and post-mining areas as a source of data on changes in mining areas,
  • satellite radar interferometry of ground deformation (active and secondary),
  • modelling of active and secondary ground deformation with spatial and numerical techniques and methods,
  • studies of geospatial relationships of mining and the surrounding environment and its components,
  • new methods and techniques applied in studies of mining’s influence on the environment, especially ground movements,
  • comparative studies of approaches and methodologies in studies of mining’s influence on the environment,
  • case studies of innovative methods and technologies,

The purpose of this Special Issue includes the demonstration of new methods and techniques in the processing and interpreting of remote sensing data for the observation and monitoring of mining grounds, including the integration of data from different sources and GIS; the presentation of enhanced and new methodologies for analysis and assessment of the state of areas under the influence of mining and the condition of engineering objects in mining areas.

Key research questions are:

  • remote sensing for spatial analysis and GIS applications,
  • ground surface hazards and risk in mining areas,
  • infrastructure deformation monitoring,
  • problems of ground deformation resulting from induced seismicity in mining areas,
  • problems of ground movements in areas of mine flooding,
  • SAR interferometry.

Dr. Jan Blachowski
Prof. Jörg Benndorf
Dr. Wojciech Milczarek
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite radar interferometry
  • Mining
  • Spatial analysis
  • Environment
  • GIS

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 4801 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Potential of Radar Interferometry for Monitoring Rural Artisanal Cobalt Mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
by Chloe Brown, Anna Daniels, Doreen S. Boyd, Andrew Sowter, Giles Foody and Siddharth Kara
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9834; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239834 - 24 Nov 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4868
Abstract
Greater awareness of the serious human rights abuses associated with the extraction and trade of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has applied increasing pressure for businesses to move towards more responsible and sustainable mineral sourcing. Artisanal and small-scale mining [...] Read more.
Greater awareness of the serious human rights abuses associated with the extraction and trade of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has applied increasing pressure for businesses to move towards more responsible and sustainable mineral sourcing. Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) activities in rural and remote locations may provide heightened opportunities to conceal the alleged human rights violations associated with mining, such as: hazardous working conditions, health impacts, child labour, child trafficking, and debt bondage. In this study, we investigate the feasibility of the Intermittent Small Baseline Subset (ISBAS) interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) method, teamed with high temporal frequency Sentinel-1 imagery, for monitoring ASM activity in rural locations of the “Copperbelt”, the DRC. The results show that the ISBAS descriptive variables (mean, standard deviation, minimum, and maximum) were significantly different (p-value = ≤ 0.05) between mining and non-mining areas. Additionally, a significant difference was found for the ISBAS descriptive variables mean, standard deviation, and minimum between the different mine types (industrial, surface, and tunnels). As expected, a high level of subsidence (i.e., negative ISBAS pixel value) was a clear indicator of mine activity. Trial activity thresholds were set for the descriptive variables mean (-2.43 mm/yr) and minimum (-5.36 mm/yr) to explore an ISBAS approach to active mine identification. The study concluded that the ISBAS method has great potential as a monitoring tool for ASM, with the ability to separate mining and non-mining areas based on surface motion values, and further distinguish the different mine types (industrial, surface, and tunnel). Ground data collection and further development of ISBAS analysis needs to be made to fully understand the value of an ISBAS-based ASM monitoring system. In particular, surrounding the impact of seasonality relative to longer-term trends in ASM activity. Full article
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26 pages, 17875 KiB  
Article
Application of Remote Sensing, GIS and Machine Learning with Geographically Weighted Regression in Assessing the Impact of Hard Coal Mining on the Natural Environment
by Anna Kopeć, Paweł Trybała, Dariusz Głąbicki, Anna Buczyńska, Karolina Owczarz, Natalia Bugajska, Patrycja Kozińska, Monika Chojwa and Agata Gattner
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9338; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229338 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3474
Abstract
Mining operations cause negative changes in the environment. Therefore, such areas require constant monitoring, which can benefit from remote sensing data. In this article, research was carried out on the environmental impact of underground hard coal mining in the Bogdanka mine, located in [...] Read more.
Mining operations cause negative changes in the environment. Therefore, such areas require constant monitoring, which can benefit from remote sensing data. In this article, research was carried out on the environmental impact of underground hard coal mining in the Bogdanka mine, located in the southeastern Poland. For this purpose, spectral indexes, satellite radar interferometry, Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and machine learning algorithms were utilized. Based on optical, radar, geological, hydrological and meteorological data, a spatial model was developed to determine the statistical significance of the selected factors’ individual impact on the occurrence of wetlands. Obtained results show that Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) change, terrain height, groundwater level and terrain displacement had a considerable influence on the occurrence of wetlands in the research area. Moreover, the machine learning model developed using the Random Forest algorithm allowed for an efficient determination of potential flooding zones based on a set of spatial variables, correctly detecting 76% area of wetlands. Finally, the GWR (Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) modelling enabled identification of local anomalies of selected factors’ influence on the occurrence of wetlands, which in turn helped to understand the causes of wetland formation. Full article
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12 pages, 5247 KiB  
Article
Deformations of Mining Terrain Caused by the Partial Exploitation in the Aspect of Measurements and Numerical Modeling
by Jan Białek, Marek Wesołowski, Ryszard Mielimąka and Paweł Sikora
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5072; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125072 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1617
Abstract
The article presents the results of geodetic measurements and numerical modeling of mining area deformations in the partial exploitation area of the 712/1-2 seam at the Marcel Coal Mine. An important element in this exploitation is the limitation of the length of [...] Read more.
The article presents the results of geodetic measurements and numerical modeling of mining area deformations in the partial exploitation area of the 712/1-2 seam at the Marcel Coal Mine. An important element in this exploitation is the limitation of the length of longwalls with cavings to 130 m and 150 m, leaving an unextracted 70 m wide coal solid belt between them. Leaving the belts aimed to reduce deformations of the mining terrain, with relatively limited deposit losses. The numerical modeling of mining terrain deformations was performed using the Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua (FLAC) software package based on the finite difference method. The results of the geodetic measurements and computer simulations presented in the article confirm the assumption adopted during the planning stage of this exploitation about the possible significant reduction of mining terrain deformations caused by leaving the unextracted belts of coal solid between successive longwall panels. Full article
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16 pages, 3608 KiB  
Article
Monitoring Mining Disturbance and Restoration over RBM Site in South Africa Using LandTrendr Algorithm and Landsat Data
by Lubanzi Z. D. Dlamini and Sifiso Xulu
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6916; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246916 - 5 Dec 2019
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 6838
Abstract
Considering the negative impact of mining on ecosystems in mining areas, the South African government legislated the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (No. 28 of 2002), to compel mining companies to restore the land affected by mining. Several studies have used remotely [...] Read more.
Considering the negative impact of mining on ecosystems in mining areas, the South African government legislated the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (No. 28 of 2002), to compel mining companies to restore the land affected by mining. Several studies have used remotely sensed data to observe the status and dynamics of surface mines. Advances in remote sensing along the cloud-based Google Earth Engine (GEE) now promise an enhanced observation strategy for improved monitoring of mine environments. Despite these advances, land rehabilitation at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) is mainly restricted to field-based approaches which are unable to reveal seamless patterns of disturbance and restoration. Here, we illustrate the value of the trajectory-based LandTrendr algorithm in conjunction with GEE for mine rehabilitation studies. Our automated method produced disturbance and recovery patterns (1984–2018) over the RBM site. The study revealed that RBM has progressively been mining different portions of the mineral-rich coastal area after which restoration was undertaken. The duration of mining over each site ranged from 2 to 6 years. The LandTrendr outputs correspond with independent reference datasets that were classified with an overall accuracy of 99%; it captures mine-induced disturbance efficiently and offers a practical tool for mine restoration management. Full article
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12 pages, 3477 KiB  
Article
Determination of GPS Session Duration in Ground Deformation Surveys in Mining Areas
by Maciej Bazanowski, Anna Szostak-Chrzanowski and Adam Chrzanowski
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216127 - 3 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2509
Abstract
Extraction of underground minerals causes subsidence of the ground surface due to gravitational forces. The subsidence rate depends on the type of extracted ore, as well as its shape, thickness, and depth. Additionally, the embedding and overburden rock properties influence the time needed [...] Read more.
Extraction of underground minerals causes subsidence of the ground surface due to gravitational forces. The subsidence rate depends on the type of extracted ore, as well as its shape, thickness, and depth. Additionally, the embedding and overburden rock properties influence the time needed for the deformations to reach the surface. Using the results of geodetic deformation monitoring, which supply the information on pattern and magnitude of surface deformation, the performance of the mine may be evaluated. The monitoring can supply information on the actual rock mass behaviour during the operation and in many cases during the years after the mining operations have ceased. Geodetic methods of deformation monitoring supply information on the absolute and relative displacements (changes in position in a selected coordinate system) from which displacement and strain fields for the monitored object may be derived. Thus, geodetic measurements provide global information on absolute and relative displacements over large areas, either at discrete points or continuous in the space domain. The geodetic methods are affected by errors caused by atmospheric refraction and delay of electromagnetic signal. Since geodetic measurements allow for redundancy and statistical evaluation of the quality of the data, they generally provide reliable results. Usually, the designed accuracy of deformation measurements should allow for the detection of at least one third of the expected maximum deformations over the desired time span at the 95% probability level. In ground subsidence studies in mining areas, 10 mm accuracy at 95% level in both vertical and horizontal displacements is typically required. In the case of salt mines, the process of ground subsidence in viscous rock is slow; therefore, subsidence monitoring surveys may be performed once a year. In subsidence determination, two techniques are commonly used: leveling and satellite positioning. The satellite positioning technique is used to determine the 3D (horizontal coordinates and height) or 2D position of monitored points (only horizontal coordinates). When comparing the heights determined from satellite and leveling surveys, it has to be noted that the leveling heights are referred with respect to the geoid (orthometric heights), while heights determined from satellite surveys are referred with respect to the ellipsoid (ellipsoidal height). In the case of satellite surveys, the accuracy of horizontal position is typically 2–3 times better than vertical. The analysis of the optimal session duration lead to the conclusion that in order to achieve the sub-cm accuracy of horizontal coordinates at 95% confidence level, the satellite positioning session length using Global Positioning System (GPS) should be at least three hours long. In order to achieve the sub-cm accuracy of height coordinate at 95% confidence level in a single observation session, the GPS session length should be at least twelve hours long. Full article
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