*School of Geosciences (Journal Articles)

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Item
    Towards multiscale and multisource remote sensing mineral exploration using rpas: A case study in the lofdal carbonatite-hosted ree deposit, Namibia
    (MDPI, Basel, Switzerland, 2019) Booysen, René; Nex, Paul A.M.; Zimmermann, Robert; Lorenz, Sandra; Gloaguen, Richard; Andreani, Louis; Möckel, Robert
    Traditional exploration techniques usually rely on extensive field work supported by geophysical ground surveying. However, this approach can be limited by several factors such as field accessibility, financial cost, area size, climate, and public disapproval. We recommend the use of multiscale hyperspectral remote sensing to mitigate the disadvantages of traditional exploration techniques. The proposed workflow analyzes a possible target at different levels of spatial detail. This method is particularly beneficial in inaccessible and remote areas with little infrastructure, because it allows for a systematic, dense and generally noninvasive surveying. After a satellite regional reconnaissance, a target is characterized in more detail by plane-based hyperspectral mapping. Subsequently, Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS)-mounted hyperspectral sensors are deployed on selected regions of interest to provide a higher level of spatial detail. All hyperspectral data are corrected for radiometric and geometric distortions. End-member modeling and classification techniques are used for rapid and accurate lithological mapping. Validation is performed via field spectroscopy and portable XRF as well as laboratory geochemical and spectral analyses. The resulting spectral data products quickly provide relevant information on outcropping lithologies for the field teams. We show that the multiscale approach allows defining the promising areas that are further refined using RPAS-based hyperspectral imaging. We further argue that the addition of RPAS-based hyperspectral data can improve the detail of field mapping in mineral exploration, by bridging the resolution gap between airplane- and ground-based data. RPAS-based measurements can supplement and direct geological observation rapidly in the field and therefore allow better integration with in situ ground investigations. We demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed approach at the Lofdal Carbonatite Complex in Namibia, which has been previously subjected to rare earth elements exploration. The deposit is located in a remote environment and characterized by difficult terrain which limits ground surveys.
  • Item
    Accurate hyperspectral imaging of mineralised outcrops: An example from lithium-bearing pegmatites at Uis, Namibia
    (Elsevier Inc, 2021) Booysen, René; Nex, Paul A.M.; Lorenz, Sandra; Thiele, Samuel T.; Fuchsloch, Warrick C.; Marais, Timothy; Gloaguen, Richard
    Efficient, socially acceptable and rapid methods of exploration are required to discover new deposits and enable the green energy transition. Sustainable exploration requires a combination of innovative thinking and new technologies. Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is a rapidly developing technology and allows for fast and systematic mineral mapping, facilitating exploration of the Earth’s surface at various scales on a variety of platforms. Newly available sensors allow data capture over a wide spectral range, and provide information about the abundance and spatial location of ore and pathfinder minerals in drill-core, hand samples and outcrops with mm to cm precision. Conversely, the complex geometries of the imaged surfaces affect the spectral quality and signal-to-noise ratio (SnR) of HSI data at these very narrow spatial samplings. Additionally, the complex mineral assemblages found in hydrothermally altered ore deposits can make interpretation of spectral results a challenge. In this contribution, we propose an innovative approach that integrates multiple sensors and scales of data acquisition to help disentangle complex mineralogy associated with lithium and tin mineralisation in the Uis pegmatite complex, Namibia. We train this method using hand samples and finally produce a three-dimensional (3D) point cloud for mapping lithium mineralisation in the open pit. We were able to identify and map lithium-bearing cookeite and montebrasite at outcrop scale. The accuracy of the approach was validated by drill-core data, XRD analysis and LIBS measurements. This approach facilitates efficient mapping of complex terrains, as well as important monitoring and optimisation of ore extraction. Our method can easily be adapted to other minerals relevant to the mining industry.
  • Item
    Detection of REEs with lightweight UAV‑based hyperspectral imaging
    (Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations., 2020) Booysen, René; Nex, Paul A.M.; Zimmermann, Robert; Loren, Sandra; Kirsch, Moritz; Jackish, Robert; Gloaguen, Richard
    Rare earth elements (REEs) supply is important to ensure the energy transition, e-mobility and ultimately to achieve the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Conventional exploration techniques usually rely on substantial geological field work including dense in-situ sampling with long delays until provision of analytical results. However, this approach is limited by land accessibility, financial status, climate and public opposition. Efficient and innovative methods are required to mitigate these limitations. The use of lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provides a unique opportunity to conduct rapid and non-invasive exploration even in socially sensitive areas and in relatively inaccessible locations. We employ drones with hyperspectral sensors to detect REEs at the earth’s surface and thus contribute to a rapidly evolving field at the cutting edge of exploration technologies. We showcase for the first time the direct mapping of REEs with lightweight hyperspectral UAV platforms. Our solution has the advantage of quick turn-around times (< 1 d), low detection limits (< 200 ppm for Nd) and is ideally suited to support exploration campaigns. This procedure was successfully tested and validated in two areas: Marinkas Quellen, Namibia, and Siilinjärvi, Finland. This strategy should invigorate the use of drones in exploration and for the monitoring of mining activities.