University of Oulu

Rauhala, A.; Tuomela, A.; Davids, C.; Rossi, P.M. UAV Remote Sensing Surveillance of a Mine Tailings Impoundment in Sub-Arctic Conditions. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1318.

UAV remote sensing surveillance of a mine tailings impoundment in sub-Arctic conditions

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Author: Rauhala, Anssi1; Tuomela, Anne1; Davids, Corine2;
Organizations: 1Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Norut Northern Research Institute, P.O. Box 6434, NO-9294 Tromsø, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 9.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2017
Publish Date: 2021-03-24


Mining typically involves extensive areas where environmental monitoring is spatially sporadic. New remote sensing techniques and platforms such as Structure from Motion (SfM) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may offer one solution for more comprehensive and spatially continuous measurements. We conducted UAV campaigns in three consecutive summers (2015–2017) at a sub-Arctic mining site where production was temporarily suspended. The aim was to monitor a 0.5 km² tailings impoundment and measure potential subsidence of tailings. SfM photogrammetry was used to produce yearly topographical models of the tailings surface, which allowed the amount of surface displacement between years to be tracked. Ground checkpoints surveyed in stable areas of the impoundment were utilized in assessing the vertical accuracy of the models. Observed surface displacements were linked to a combination of erosion, tailings settlement, and possible compaction of the peat layer underlying the tailings. The accuracy obtained indicated that UAV-assisted monitoring of tailings impoundments is sufficiently accurate for supporting impoundment management operations and for tracking surface displacements in the decimeter range.

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Series: Remote sensing
ISSN: 2072-4292
ISSN-E: 2072-4292
ISSN-L: 2072-4292
Volume: 9
Issue: 12
Article number: 1318
DOI: 10.3390/rs9121318
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 212 Civil and construction engineering
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This study was funded by the Interreg Nord 2014–2020 program, Lapin Liitto, and Troms Fylkeskommune. It is also supported by K.H. Renlund Foundation, Tauno Tönning Foundation, and Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry.
Copyright information: © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (