British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Temporal trends in reclamation assessed with airborne multispectral remote sensing Brown, Leslie; Borstad, Gary A; Kerr, Randy; Willis, Peter; Richards, Mark; Witt, Peter; Martinez, Mar


Airborne multispectral imagery of Highland Valley Copper Mine, near Kamloops BC was acquired in July 2005, the fourth in a series of airborne remote sensing campaigns. A quantitative index of vegetation biomass (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index or NDVI) and multispectral classifications are now available for 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005 for reclamation sites at Bethlehem, Trojan, Heustis and Highmont Tailings areas. Temporal trends can now be examined. The remote sensing data show that 2005 was a “green” year. Most vegetation, whether dense, moderate or sparse, was actively growing and green at the time of imaging. This is in contrast to 2003, which was unusually dry. The four-year time series indicates an overall increase in vegetation density and greenness since 2001, with the drought of 2003 having clear, short-term impacts on the vegetation. On a more local scale, the area along Trojan Dam and the area to the north and west of Bethlehem Tailings showed dramatic increases in vegetation in 2005. Local analyses of reclamation sites at Bethlehem Northeast and Heustis demonstrate the usefulness of imagery to supplement ground evaluation of individual sites. With boundary vectors for all reclamation sites, these analyses could be extended throughout the mine to assist in reclamation assessment.

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