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Airborne Hyperspectral Mining Operations

SAFETY, PROCESSING, INVENTORY

According to GlobalData, an industry data and analytics firm and Mining Technology Magazine, the popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across the mining industry has grown rapidly in recent years. Approximately 70% of the major mining companies have conducted drone trials since 2016 and several are considering widespread deployment not just for survey applications, but also for safety, stockpile management, and monitoring tailings and tailings dams. Ground-based hyperspectral imaging can also be used for many of the same applications.
Figure 1: According to GlobalData, an industry data and analytics firm and Mining Technology Magazine, the popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) across the mining industry has grown rapidly in recent years. Approximately 70% of the major mining companies have conducted drone trials since 2016 and several are considering widespread deployment not just for survey applications, but also for safety, stockpile management, and monitoring tailings and tailings dams. Ground-based hyperspectral imaging can also be used for many of the same applications.

Prospecting is the search for minerals and ores that suggest the presence of a mineral deposit worthy of mining. Rapid and accurate mapping of the surface mineralogy of large areas greatly improves the efficiency and efficacy of mineral prospecting. Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) can produce maps of surface mineralogy using airborne imagery.

AIRBORNE IMAGE ACQUISITION

Airborne SWIR hyperspectral images were collected using a Headwall Co-Aligned HP VNIR-SWIR turnkey package. LiDAR data was collected using the same VNIR and LiDAR turnkey package.

HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGE ANALYSIS

Headwall’s SpectralView® classification module was used to generate a false-color map of the surface mineralogy. Each color corresponds to a spectral signature representing a mineral or group of minerals as identified by an expert. A high-resolution DEM was created from a LiDAR point cloud using Headwall’s LiDAR Tools software. 3D renderings were created using the LiDAR DEM.

The results indicate that airborne hyperspectral imaging can be used for mineral prospecting with very good accuracy when suitable mineral spectral libraries are available. Ideally these spectral libraries should be obtained from a local ground truth measurement. This ensures that the spectral signatures match the local geology.

Value of Spectral Imaging:

BENEFITS OF USING HEADWALL HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGING TECHNOLOGY

Unlike conventional grayscale or RGB color cameras, Headwall’s hyperspectral sensors capture a wide range of the visible to near-infrared spectrum in extraordinary spectral and spatial resolution. Such resolution is often needed to identify the spectral fingerprints of minerals of interest.

READY OUT OF THE BOX

Headwall’s turnkey Co-Aligned VNIR-SWIR hyperspectral imager with UAV and optional LiDAR comes with everything needed to fly missions, including flight and data acquisition training at Headwall’s facility in Massachusetts.

Benchtop laboratory scanning systems can augment systems deployed in the air or on the processing line. These compact and intuitive systems enable off-line imaging of samples to improve the algorithms used for inspection without having to shut down the processing line to run tests. 

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With systems deployed worldwide, contact Headwall to find out the best solution for your needs. Our systems are used every day in the laboratory, in the field, underwater, in the air, and in space!"

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