Australian Geological and Remote Sensing Services (AGARSS) is well-known for its
expertise in the application of sound remote sensing and geological techniques in all
aspects of mineral exploration.
However, according to manager Bob Agar, little is appreciated in mining circles how
those same skills can be of enormous value at the stage of mine planning and beyond.
"In todays environment-conscious society, mining companies are obligated to
demonstrate best-practice in the protection and maintenance of their mines
environs," Mr Agar said. "Where remote sensing is concerned, that same data
which might have assisted in the discovery of an orebody can also be used to provide an
audit of the state of the environment prior to discovery. Once operations are underway,
repeat surveys focused on the mine environment enable the mapping and monitoring of
changes that are not apparent to the naked eye, thereby giving the miner advanced warning
of any potential problems."
Mr Agar said at the mine planning stage, the remote sensing data can make a valuable
contribution in mapping surface soil types and identifying potential construction problems
due to difficult or unstable ground conditions. He said construction materials such as
lateritic or pisolitic gravels needed for road construction might also be mappable close
to the mine site itself using this data.
Hydrological issues such as finding a source of water for the mine, in addition to
problems associated with safe tailings disposal, can also benefit from detailed remote
sensing studies. "AGARSS has used airborne remote sensing data to detect and
characterise contamination of rivers and the dispersal of those contaminants into
Guanabara Bay in Brazil."
"Similar data is being used also to map the dispersal of mine waste in streams in
Peru. In some cases, it is possible to show that contamination of rivers due to acid
leaching was occurring naturally from the ore body prior to mining and that although the
stream is contaminated by metals, the effect of mining has been minimal."
"Spectral analysis, a key factor in modern remote sensing, also has a key role to
play in mine operations. Geologists can collect spectral data from the mine face or from
rock chip and drill samples which allow them to map the mineralogy associated with
mineralisation as an aid to grade prediction and control."
AGARSS can advise and assist in all aspects of this type of work, either directly or in
conjunction with its associate companies, AMIGO Pty Ltd, Geochemex Australasia and
Martinick McNulty Pty Ltd.