The use of Multispectral Remote Sensing to Map Reclaimed Areas at Highland Valley Copper

CIM Montreal 2003
Gary Borstad, Mar Martínez de Saavedra Álvarez,
Abstract Highland Valley Copper is a large, open-pit copper mine in the southern interior of British Columbia. Reclamation has been in progress on the site since 1987. Some 6,300 hectares will have been disturbed at the end of the mine’s life, the majority of which will eventually be reclaimed.

The establishment of vegetation and the development of a self-sustaining vegetative cover are the central components of the mine’s reclamation plan. The present vegetation-monitoring program for the reclaimed area represents a significant commitment of resources and only addresses a small portion of the site each year. In an effort to expand the area surveyed while improving the efficiency of the monitoring, the use of remote sensing is being investigated. Airborne multispectral imagery was acquired in the summer of 2001, and the results of the multispectral classification were compared to ground observations made during the routine 2000 and 2001 monitoring program. A thematic map with 17 vegetation classes was produced. Within the vegetation classes, there was a strong spectral separation between “ dry grasses” and “legumes” with further separation according to their density. Green biomass could also be quantified remotely across a wide variety of vegetation types.

During summer 2002, further aerial imagery was acquired in combination with a targeted ground-truthing program to determine characteristic vegetation types associated with recognized spectral signatures, which can be used in a supervised classification. It is anticipated that after some fine-tuning, it will be possible to shift the ground-sampling effort from areas where the aerial classification confidence is high to more complex areas.
Keywords: Remote, Multispectral, Reclamation, Sensing, Monitoring, Vegetation, CASI
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