EO’s importance for mining outlined in new report

By on 26 May, 2021

Image courtesy NASA EO-1 team

The increasing role being played by Earth observation services within Australia’s mining sector has been highlighted in a new report from Digital Earth Australia (DEA).

The report, Extracting the benefits of Earth observation, was initiated by DEA (a program of Geoscience Australia), which commissioned FrontierSI to conduct “exploratory research into the potential application of EO data across key sectors,” such as agriculture, mining, finance and insurance, and construction and infrastructure.

The report assessed current industry research and canvassed input from interviews, focus groups, conferences and workshops conducted during 2020.

The overall conclusion is that EO technology and insights will play a vital role in the digital transformation and automation journey of the mining and mining equipment, technology and services sector.

The report says that major opportunities for the growth of EO in the sector include:

  • Expansion of adoption of existing EO technologies and services across the mining lifecycle
  • Increased use of EO in the sector’s move towards greater digitisation and automation
  • The potential for EO to deliver mining process efficiencies and reduce risk.

However, it also points out that the increasing adoption of EO raises some challenges:

  • Insufficient user maturity and confidence in the usability and accuracy of EO data
  • A lack of understanding about the limitations of EO and its impact on downstream processes
  • A lack of clear value propositions, communicating how EO can reduce risk and increase productivity.

Accordingly, the report recommends that EO providers take action to:

  • Increase EO awareness in general
  • Present EO as one part of a solution
  • Prioritise interoperability, documentation, standards, and ease of access to EO products
  • Speak in plain language about solving business and risk problems.

“The opportunities for satellite data to drive growth and improvement within Australia’s mining sector are expansive,” says Trent Kershaw, director, program delivery at DEA.

“Its potential to boost efficiency, automation, safety, environmental management and ultimately profitability is significant — but so is the knowledge and familiarity gap between technology providers and potential mining users.”

The report can be downloaded from the Geoscience Australia website.

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