With no on-site presence, supervision or permitting required, PhotoSat offers hassle free, remote, cost effective mine site surveying for your entire site, with fast enough turnaround for operational use. Since 2010, PhotoSat has completed over 1200 surveys of mine sites and tailings storage facilities worldwide.

Satellite surveying is cost-effective for many types of mine sites

PhotoSat satellite surveying is ideal for large mine sites where the operator places a high priority on site safety, continuous tailings monitoring, optimizing material transport, and lowering costs. Depending on the mine location, size, and mining rate, we survey our clients’ sites anywhere from once per year up to twice per month.

Satellite surveying is ideal for monitoring volume reconciliations, stockpile volumes, toes and crests, water body outlines, reserve and resource estimates, and tailings.

Satellite surveying is ideal for a variety of mine sites

Satellite surveying works for a wide range of mine site sizes. Surveys can cover large areas (100+ km2) accurately and instantaneously, and are also an ideal choice for surveying smaller mine sites (5+ km2). With no permits or on-site presence needed to conduct the surveying, PhotoSat surveys are extremely beneficial for remote or difficult to access locations, anywhere across the globe. 

Mine site safety and security are ensured

PhotoSat surveying is the only method that poses absolutely no mine site safety challenges. No on-site personnel presence is required, and there are no regulatory or licensing concerns. 

Satellite Surveying Process

The first time we survey a mine site, we register the PhotoSat surveying to existing “as built” survey data and/or to existing survey monuments. Subsequent PhotoSat surveys register to the same survey control and to the original PhotoSat surveying. After the initial PhotoSat survey there are no requirements for additional ground survey data. 

PhotoSat is notified within hours of the satellite photography. We immediately inform the mine operator that the site has been photographed and the survey is in production. The mine operator then knows that the entire mine site survey will be updated to the date of the satellite photos.

Survey snapshots of an entire site can be delivered within as little as five business days 

Optimizing mine operations on large mine sites requires up-to-date survey data of the entire site. As one example, PhotoSat regularly surveys one mine site that is over 250 km2. For that site, we deliver the survey results over the key tailings storage area within 48 hours of the satellite pass. We deliver the rest of the mine survey within 5 business days. 

The WorldView satellites take stereo satellite photos covering hundreds of square kilometers in about one minute.

Mine sites with tailings storage facilities must be accurately measured and regularly monitored

Mine tailings engineers have a responsibility to ensure that the mine tailings are safe and secure. High profile tailings dam failures in the last few years have focused public, media, and government regulatory attention on tailings storage facilities. Regular PhotoSat surveying, accurate to 15 cm in elevation, provides an independent, auditable record of the construction and deposition history of tailings storage facilities.

Mine sites require “as built” plans to always be up to date

Continuous satellite surveying of the entire mine site ensures that “as built” survey plans are always up to date. The satellites acquire stereo photos of entire mine sites of several hundred square kilometers in one minute. This provides an instantaneous snapshot survey of the entire site. Mining engineers can then plan new projects, confident that they are always working with accurate, up-to-date survey information. 

Remote mine sites can be difficult to survey

Many large mines are in remote areas. Some are at very high altitudes. In these locations, it is often difficult to find and retain experienced, qualified, surveyors. Regular PhotoSat surveying can significantly reduce the numbers of full-time and contract surveyors required on the mine site. The PhotoSat survey also serves as an independent check on mine site survey results, which may have been produced by less experienced surveyors or survey contractors.