Using the Eye in the Sky for Mineral Exploration

Advanced remote sensing technology is creating a new frontier for opportunities in mineral exploration.

(Source: Olga Maksimava/Shutterstock.com)

Remote sensing imagery acquired by satellites has opened new frontiers in exploration. Historically, the data have provided information to government entities to measure land use and predict weather and other benefits to society, but natural resource companies are also finding satellite imagery useful for mineral exploration.

Exploration Mapping Group Inc., based in Las Vegas, is among the few providers supplying these industries with geological remote sensing services and interpretation. Managing director Dan Taranik conducts the bulk of this work with Maxar’s WorldView-3 satellite, which offers industrial-grade superspecteral instruments, including 15 or more high-resolution spectral bands to capture imagery.

“WorldView-3 spins around the globe once every 90 minutes, so as it rotates across the globe, we can be over the same site of the Earth once every five days,” he said. “Each one of those spectral bands is designed to measure some mineral or environmental phenomenon, so we can measure a variety of clays, irons [and] silica. And that’s what our geologists want to see before they go in the field so they can plan their time wisely to make the most out of really expensive field time, and it also keeps them safer.”

Exploration geologists prefer WorldView-3 as it is among a small group of satellites with the technical quality, ground resolution and spectral range to create quality images and maps.

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Mary Holcomb

Mary Holcomb is an Associate Editor for HartEnergy.com's Digital News Group. She contributes to the company’s technology-based content such as subsea, seismic, digital oilfield, etc.