Remote sensing based tool for change analysis in mining regions
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.