Researchers from Vienna University of Economics and Business have released a global-scale comprehensive dataset of the total geographical area that is used for mining activities. The researchers used satellite imagery to generate this data.
This research was done by lead researchers from WU Vienna’s Institute of Ecological Economics; Stefan Giljum and Victor Maus.
Maus states that one of the main problems they encountered in the assessment of the impact of the global mining sector was the lack of enough geographical information on these mining sites.
While there is a lot of data present on the mining sector’s activities, they focus more on the materials produced. No database provides an accurate account of the total area of land used for raw mineral extraction. The research team used satellite imagery and visual interpretation to generate the data set that accounts for more than 6,000 mining sites across the globe. All these mining sites had operational mining activities running between 2000 to 2017.
The research team also listed over 21,000 mining sites using satellite data. These mining areas are referred to as polygons. All these polygons create a detailed visual data set that covers a total area of 57,277km2
The information gathered by the team can be used to enhance environmental assessments of the impact of the mining industry. Additionally, the information may also be used to develop a standard that will help to further monitor the world’s mining activities.
As the global demand for metal ores rapidly increases and their applications grow, such as for use in electronic products like smartphones and in renewable energy technologies such as rechargeable batteries, the information gathered on the effects that mining has on the environment is needed to help achieve more sustainable mining production and consumption patterns in the industry.
Additionally, this record will help raise more ecological accountability and awareness in the mining sector. Just last week, the Mining Risk Review pointed out that environmental risk was the biggest barrier in insuring mining assets in the next decade and even after.
Moreover, the data set obtained may also be used to keep track of the degradation of ecosystems as well as the deforestation or fragmentation caused by mining, in addition to other environmental issues. The data may also offer support to manufacturers of electric vehicles as many have concerns over the environmental practices and ethics of battery metal producers.
This is data that entities like GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: ATUMF) may find useful as they make their strategic plans.
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