Tag Archives: hyperspectral imaging

Rio Tinto partners with Pixxel to investigate hyperspectral satellite tech capabilities

Pixxel, an edge earth-imaging technology company, has announced an early adoption partnership with Rio Tinto spanning mineral exploration, active and closed mine site monitoring and ESG metrics.

Pixxel’s imaging satellites, capable of 5 m hyperspectral imaging, will help Rio Tinto assess the benefits the technology may provide in these areas, the company said. Rio will begin its assessment of the technology following the release of imagery from Pixxel’s first high-resolution satellite, set to launch early this year.

This partnership, Pixxel says, validates the potential benefits that its technology may provide to the resources sector.

“Pixxel’s high-resolution hyperspectral satellite imagery has the potential to significantly reduce costs and timelines for exploration and improve monitoring of active and closed mine sites,” the company said. “In the coming months, Pixxel plans to launch a high resolution hyperspectral satellite, which will capture 50x information compared to common multispectral satellites. Rio Tinto will be assessing the potential of Pixxel’s hyperspectral imagery to help reduce the disturbance footprint of exploration activities, monitor the operational and environmental performance of active mining operations, and monitor biodiversity and vegetation health around closed sites.”

Pixxel Co-Founder and CEO, Awais Ahmed, said: “This partnership will be pioneering in its deployment of hyperspectral satellite imagery for commercial mining operations. We’re excited to be partnering with Rio Tinto to explore the use of hyperspectral remote sensing technology across their operations at a global scale.

“Moreover, the exponential leap in image quality (50x more detail than existing multispectral satellite imagery) allows Rio Tinto the ability to assess Pixxel’s imagery for monitoring critical mining operations and make key decisions with sustainability in mind.”

Dave Andrews, Head of Exploration at Rio Tinto, added: “Rio Tinto is participating in Pixxel’s Early Adopter Program because we believe that exploration could benefit from more cost-effective and easier access to hyperspectral satellite data.”

IOC to test government-backed hyperspectral core scanning technology

Advanced drill core imaging technology being developed by College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and trialled at Iron Ore Company of Canada’s (IOC) site in Labrador, Canada, has received federal and provincial government backing to the tune of C$4.5 million ($3.6 million).

The Government of Canada, together with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, believe the “game-changing” tech being developed by CNA “will position the region as a global leader in the mining industry”, the CNA said.

Their investments, which come on top of support from IOC and Agnico Eagle Mines, are helping advance the development of a Hyperspectral Scanning Unit (HSU) currently at IOC’s site in Labrador City conducting its first drill core scans.

The HSU, CNA says, produces high-resolution drill core images that will give mining companies a better understanding of a region’s geology. The new technology will make drill core logging more accurate, improve exploration processes and increase the potential to discover new, lucrative mineral deposits, according to the college.

Liz Kidd, President and CEO, College of the North Atlantic, said: “This state-of-the-art technology – one of the most advanced, high throughput hyperspectral drill core scanning units available globally – aligns perfectly with the college’s vision to further expand and develop its applied research and innovation arm so that we can assist industry in achieving positive, breakthrough results in the mining sector.

“We are also excited that our graduates will benefit from the training associated with the HSU that, in turn, will provide meaningful long-term benefits for the province’s future workforce and lead the way in the advancement of hyperspectral technology for the mining sector. We are proud to play a major role in this initiative.”

Chantal Lavoie, Chief Operating Officer, IOC, said the company looked forward to testing equipment at its operations in Labrador West to make IOC an even “more efficient, competitive and sustainable business for generations to come”.

Guy Gosselin, Senior Vice President of Exploration, Agnico Eagle Mines, added: “Agnico Eagle is pleased to be part of this partnership and excited with the potential it represents for our industry. The mobile HSU, developed by CNA, is breakthrough and innovative technology that will bring more robustness to data analysis in a field traditionally based on human observation, while improving its consistency and quality. Ultimately, it will lead to increased exploration and potentially more discoveries, which is key for the future of our business.”

Orbital Sidekick goes above and beyond to improve hyperspectral imaging

Orbital Sidekick (OSK) has announced the upcoming launch of its newest and most powerful hyperspectral imaging satellite, Aurora, which is set to expand contracts and pilot program opportunities for, among other things, sustainable mining practices.

Aurora leverages OSK’s previous experience collecting and analysing hyperspectral data to provide action-oriented insights, with a broad focus on sustainability, OSK says. The Aurora satellite will serve OSK’s customers in the energy, mining, and defence sectors, including expanding contracts and pilot program opportunities for oil and gas pipeline monitoring & methane mapping, clean energy resource exploration, sustainable mining practices and wildfire risk mitigation.

The Orbital Sidekick Aurora Satellite is a 30 kg precursor to the six 100 kg ESPA class GHOSt satellites scheduled for launch in 2022. Seattle-based launch services provider, Spaceflight, will be coordinating the launch with a total of 36 payloads onboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 rideshare mission, taking place June 25, 2021, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida, USA.

Aurora will capture more than 450 spectral bands in the visible to shortwave infrared light spectrum (400 to 2,500 nm), OSK says, with a pixel size of approximately 30 m, making it the highest resolution commercial hyperspectral imagery available to date, the company claims.

“We’re excited to be launching Aurora to help provide consistent monitoring services across all of our clients as well as further the exploration for clean energy sources globally,” Dan Katz, CEO & Co-Founder of Orbital Sidekick, said. “Working with Astro Digital, OSK will be able to focus on the payload and extract information from our unique and proprietary hyperspectral data with the utmost precision.”