Geological exploration for mineral resources using Remote Sensing (RS) methods - non-traditional exploration for indirect presence of mineral resources based on satellite, aerial, and UAV sensors in a wide electromagnetic spectrum.
Images are collected either through optical sensors or radar sensors with synthetic aperture. Optical sensors measure spectral data of sunlight reflected from the Earth's surface. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors can detect electromagnetic data by transmitting microwave radiation and receiving backscattered waves from the Earth's surface.
Remote sensing images are used for indirect exploration of valuable mineral deposits in two key ways:
- Mapping and analyzing the geology, faults, and fractures of the ore deposit.
- Identification of hydrothermally altered rocks based on their spectral characteristics.
Mapping hydrothermal alteration minerals and structural lines, for example, using multi-spectral images from satellites like Landsat 8 (or Aster), provides valuable information for mineral exploration. For instance, gold mineralization occurs as quartz veins and stringers associated with hydrothermal alteration halos. Faults are interpreted as pathways for mineralizing fluids, where the interaction between host rocks and hydrothermal fluids causes variations in composition. Detecting these features using RS methods is a key indicator for targeting new prospective areas of orogenic gold mineralization. For example, remote sensing image processing methods such as band combinations, band ratios, and principal component analysis (PCA) have been applied to visible, near-infrared, and short-wave infrared ranges from Landsat 8 satellite.
Purposes of Prospecting for Mineral Deposits
Indirect support for main traditional prospecting activities on mineral resources by reducing significant investments in geological exploration. In such conditions, the implementation of innovative and cost-effective methods, such as remote sensing, becomes particularly relevant.
Remote Sensing is a valuable tool for geologists, providing relevant information while saving time and resources. It is best suited for locating high-value mineral deposits, such as diamonds and gold. Although remote sensing cannot precisely pinpoint the location of large ore bodies, the data obtained from it can be used to narrow down prospects through other means in smaller areas.
In the last 10-15 years, there has been a significant technological breakthrough in terms of improving the quality and availability of satellite imagery. This has led to a reevaluation of traditional approaches to mineral resource forecasting.
Global experience in using Remote Sensing methods has proven their effectiveness in locating copper-porphyry, gold, and other deposits in countries like Iran, Argentina, China, USA, Canada, and more. Across the world, the preparatory stage of geological exploration includes Remote Sensing methods, but Russia is currently lagging behind. Free satellite images from ASTER, Landsat ETM+, Landsat-8, and recently made publicly accessible, have been successfully utilized in the field of geology.
The introduction of commercial satellite imagery from Worldview-3 (8 SWIR 3.7m + 8 MS 1.24m + PAN 0.31m) has significantly improved the efficiency of preliminary geological exploration or the refinement of previously explored deposits.
Geo Innoter is the only company in Russia whose specialists have undergone multiple training sessions in the application of Remote Sensing by the industry leader MAXAR (USA) for geological tasks!
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Purposes and Objectives of Prospecting for Mineral Deposits:
Mineral exploration is a task that geologists must approach with the maximum possible information. Rare metals and valuable minerals can easily be overlooked, and the process of their discovery involves costly risks.
In general, remote sensing is used in geological exploration to accomplish the following tasks:
- Mapping of deposits and host rocks.
- Lithological mapping.
- Structural mapping.
- Exploration of mineral deposits.
- Study of the geology of the surrounding environment.
- Study of geobotany.
- Mapping and monitoring of sedimentary deposits.
- Mapping and monitoring of potential hazards.
- Monitoring of deformation and displacement of the earth's surface in mineral deposits.
Advantages of Using Remote Sensing:
- Remote Sensing is a valuable tool in mineral exploration due to its ability to save time and money while providing useful information. It is best suited for detecting valuable commodities such as diamonds and gold, which are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Although remote sensing methods may not precisely identify the location of large deposits, the data collected from sensors can be used to narrow down field investigations to smaller areas.
- Remote Sensing tools are beneficial for risk reduction and prioritization in exploration projects. Expensive operations like drilling and fieldwork can be conducted after collecting and analyzing geospatial data.
- The ability to synthesize different forms of data is a significant achievement in mineral exploration. Known drilling results can be integrated with topographic maps, aerial photographs, structural maps, and ore content information. Data synthesis can significantly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of exploration programs.
The application of Remote Sensing methods allows for a drastic reduction in the cost of geological exploration by conducting comprehensive research of extensive territories, often inaccessible for traditional exploration methods due to various reasons.
In combination with traditional methods (geological, geophysical, geochemical, etc.), Remote Sensing methods allow for a more objective understanding of the structure of the lithosphere, geological processes, the effectiveness of prospecting deposits, and the analysis of the environmental impact.
The application of Remote Sensing methods significantly reduces the cost of mineral exploration:
- It reduces financial and time expenses for ground exploration and the use of equipment and personnel.
- Geological exploration reaches a qualitatively new level.
- High speed of obtaining information: from 1-2 days to several weeks.
- High accuracy of information: space images document specific locations at specific times.
- Significantly broader coverage: Remote Sensing allows for simultaneous imaging of large areas with high accuracy, exploration of inaccessible regions and sites, localization of exploration, and simultaneous observations in different areas.
- No need to be bound by national or other borders; no special permits required.
The use of remote sensing methods and tools reduces the risk of implementing geological exploration projects, helping to establish the priority of exploration of different areas based on their prospects. After completing such works, more expensive exploration methods, such as geophysical surveys (including magnetic surveys, electrical surveys, and magnetometry), are used.
The ability to synthesize various data types has been a tremendous step forward in geological exploration. For example, geophysical results can be combined with topographic maps, aerial photographs, structural maps, and information on the content of valuable components, such as gold. Data synthesis significantly enhances the accuracy and efficiency of exploration work.
Prices for services
The cost of execution is calculated on an individual basis, taking into account a specific of task.
After receiving the task description, we calculate the cost and send you a commercial offer.
Period of executionThe completion timeframe for geological exploration of mineral deposits is 20 working days from the date of receiving the advance payment. However, it is important to note that the actual timeframe for providing the service will be determined individually for each customer based on specific project requirements and needs. The service completion timeframe depends on several factors, including:
- Total area of the area of interest;
- Availability of archived remote sensing materials and the need for new imaging;
- Requirements for remote sensing materials and the final product.
How to place an order:
- Step №1: Leave an application on the website with the following details:
- Location of the research object (coordinates);
- Dates for which the analysis is required.
- Step №2: Approval of the technical task and cost:
- Research starts from 10,000 USD;
- Images are paid separately.
- Step №3: Sign the contract and proceed to execution:
- Timeframe is 20 business days from the date of receiving the advance payment - payment only by bank transfer
Fill the form and we will contact you within 15 minutes
Stages of service provision
Stage № 0 (BEFORE contract conclusion):
- Obtaining and coordinating information from the Customer. It is necessary to coordinate the task requiring a solution, size, terrain characteristics, and product creation requirements to calculate the cost and timing of the services.
RESULT: possibility (YES/NO) of providing the service
Stage № 1 (BEFORE contract conclusion):
- Agreement on the technical task
- Collection, systematization, and preliminary analysis of remote sensing data (Terra / Aster, Landsat / ETM+, Hyperspectral, Hyperscan, SWIR, etc.);
- Planning of the survey. The best survey geometry is calculated after a comprehensive geological analysis of the area for exploration, taking into account the available archive of remote sensing data.
- Collection for creating a vector topographic map with the search area at a scale of 1:10,000 - 1:50,000.
- Final determination of labor and material costs, agreement on timing and cost.
RESULT: concluded contract
Stage № 2 (contract execution):
- Survey execution in all available electromagnetic spectrum ranges, preliminary processing, and delivery of remote sensing data to the Customer's sites.
- Analysis of materials to build structural geological models on minerals and creation of a fund of spectral signatures for associated rocks and areas of the Customer's interest.
- Selection of the reference library of mineral and rock spectra for ore zone alterations based on known deposits/showings, selection of the most informative indicator minerals.
- Processing of existing geological information to create comparative references.
- Creation of 1:50,000, 1:25,000, and 1:10,000 scale mineral-indicator maps
- Creation of complex anomaly maps created by analogy with reference objects
- Creation of prospecting geological maps
- Preparation of a report, containing explanatory text for the created cartographic materials, as well as recommendations for selecting prospective areas for field verification
GEО INNOTER uses spectral and subpixel analysis methods (but not limited to):
- principal component analysis (Principal Components);
- spectral angle method (Spectral Angle Mapper);
- Minimum Noise Fraction Transform;
- Pixel Purity Index;
- Multi-range spectral feature fitting (Multi Range SFF);
- structural decoding;
- calculation of mineralogical indexes;
- and others.
RESULT: Delivery of materials to the Customer
Figure. Example of mineral-indicator map, decoding of ASTER data
The result of the provision of services
Our team, during project execution, relies on a comprehensive interpretation of both medium and high-resolution satellite images, thematic maps of the area's structure, and classical representations of the region's geology described in the literature. This approach helps achieve the best results, which will be taken into account in the search for deposits during subsequent field verification.
Using structural (lineament) and spectral analysis, we perform the following:
Cartography of linear, curvilinear, and circular structures that are potentially ore-hosting or ore-conducting channels.
Detection of contrasting geological formations (including based on machine learning classification).
Precise delineation of geological bodies outcropping on the surface and located under Quaternary deposits.
Tectonic zoning of the territory.
Refinement or optimization of the drilling plan, including existing ones.
Geological and geomorphological mapping of the region.
The Customer receives a geological map indicating the areas for field exploration, which are close to achieving success.
The maps are provided in PDF, GeoTIFF, and contour lines (shp format).
In addition, geologists are involved in on-site laboratory studies and major geophysical work.
Requirements for source data
Accurate geographic coordinates of the object in the required coordinate system (specialists of GEO INNOTER will refine the coordinates provided by the Customer in any convenient form).
A set of optical, infrared (near and thermal), and radar images.
All available geological maps of the search area.
- GIS - QGIS, ArcGIS, etc.
- Processing - ERDAS, ENVI SARscape, SNAP, etc.
- The algorithm of the remote sensing method in most cases is constructed as follows:
- Reference objects of similar deposits or mineral deposits close to the area of study (gold, diamonds, platinum, copper, etc.) are selected in geological funds.
- On the selected objects study the features of multispectral, radar, hyperspectral and geophysical surveys and identify patterns, create spectral signatures of reference objects.
- They create a data bank of spectral signatures and identify features that are used later as search criteria.
- Using these search attributes, an analysis is performed on all images of the electromagnetic spectrum for a given area.
- Comprehensive analysis helps to identify a promising area and structure for further mineral prospecting.
WarrantyGuaranteed to be carried out in accordance with SNIP, GOST and SP., in accordance with advanced methods and the use of the most modern software.
We guarantee 100% quality of services. Cooperating with GEO Innoter specialists, you exclude risks and losses.
The availability of qualified personnel able to work with specialized software and many years of experience allows us to provide these guarantees!