Satellite Remote Sensing For Mining Facility Management 

On-Demand Webinar

As a global leader in copper and gold production, Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. (FMI) is continually evaluating emerging and established technologies to enable good practices at their facilities, and within the mining industry. New remote sensing technologies, scientific advancement, and improved computational processes have the potential to aid in decision making and add value to a mining company and the communities in which they operate. Perhaps the most public facing mining process, tailings storage facility management, is also the most heavily scrutinized.

At FMI, the Tailings Crushed Leach and Water (TCLW) team work to responsibly manage these large facilities. Interdisciplinary teams of water resource and geotechnical engineers, geospatial scientists, metallurgists, geophysicists, and data scientists work in tandem, utilizing a variety of tools to solve difficult questions. Remote sensing is one of those tools which has been used for decades in various industries, and now with the advent of new satellite constellations and improved computational capacity, is being leveraged in ways not previously feasible for large-scale non-expert stakeholder usage.

With a near daily revisit time, the medium-resolution PlanetScope provides FMI with a way to monitor such processes as tailings deposition, water pond positioning, spring snow melt-offs, and soil moisture patterns in spatial-temporal patterns not previously possible due to lack of sufficient resolution and long satellite revisit times. Here we provide examples of the business value of PlanetScope through the lens of the TCLW department at a global mining company. We will be speaking on the past and current state of remote sensing technologies, with a deeper focus on current and future use of Planet imagery as well as the increasing non-expert stakeholder awareness and usage of such products. Using Planet imagery, we are training and empowering a cohort of engineers to innovatively leverage data in an informed and practical way.