British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Using multispectral remote sensing to monitor reclamation at Highland Valley Copper Richards, Mark; Borstad, Gary A; Martínez, Mar


The use of airborne remote sensing is being investigated to monitor reclamation at Highland Valley Copper, a large open pit copper and molybdenum mine in the southern interior of British Columbia. The establishment of a self-sustaining vegetative cover is a central component of the mine’s reclamation plan. The present vegetation-monitoring program represents a significant commitment of both financial and manpower resources, but only addresses a small portion of the reclaimed area each year. The mine is attempting to use remote sensing to increase the efficiency and expand the area monitored each year. Airborne multispectral imagery has been acquired for the last three summers, and the results compared to the routine monitoring program. Significant progress has been made. During the first season, strong spectral separation was found between grasses and legumes with further separation due to density of vegetation. During 2002, directed ground truthing was used to associate recognisable spectral signatures with characteristic vegetation types, and the preliminary analysis of aquatic vegetation demonstrated the potential for species separation. In 2003, in situ and aerial data were acquired at a similar time, and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)/Biomass relationship was very good (r2=0.81). Further analysis of existing and new data will be the focus for 2004.

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