Remote sensing based tool for change analysis in mining regions

German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), 2022 - 2023

Since 2009, the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) has been supporting partners in DRC in the improved control of the mining sector, especially small-scale mining, within the framework of technical development cooperation. While conflict risks and other due diligence risks (e.g., child labor) play a prominent role, other factors are also important in enabling sustainable management and comprehensive control of the sector.

Mining in zones specifically allocated for small-scale mining are not common practice in the DRC; much of the activities take place either on industrial concessions or on land with no defined mining use. Responsibilities for small-scale miners, such as regard to environmental protection, are not defined and therefore not enforceable or not controllable.

Projekt-Consult works with a team on the development of an automated and remote sensing data-based detection tool for mining activities in the Congolese copper belt. The focus of the project is on small-scale mining for cobalt, which is characterized more than other sectors by interference and violations of exploitation rights. Small-scale mining in the copper belt often takes place directly next to industrial mines, and hand-picking on dumps and in pits of current projects. The project will develop a methodology for training a change detection algorithm of defined classes and accuracy analysis on open source software, an extension of the detection tool and application testing in other regions as well as a concept for the detection of small scale gold mining.


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