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TitleSpectral reflectance retrieval for mineralogical and remote sensing analysis of historical gold mine tailings sites in Nova Scotia, comparisons and comments
AuthorWhite, H PORCID logo; Percival, J BORCID logo
SourceProceedings of the 30th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing/Comptes rendus du 30e symposium canadien sur la télédétection; 2009 p. 714-720
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20090139
Meeting30th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing; Lethbridge; CA; June 22-25, 2009
ProvinceNova Scotia
AreaSeal Harbour Lake
Lat/Long WENS-62.0000 -61.5000 45.2500 45.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; geochemistry; remote sensing; tailings; tailings analyses; tailings geochemistry; mine waste products; waste management; waste disposal; reflectance; satellite imagery
Illustrationslocation maps; spectra; photographs
ProgramRemote Sensing Science
AbstractDeleterious elements in mine tailings derived from historic goldmines can be naturally distributed into, and adversely impact, surrounding environments. Historically, gold mining in Nova Scotia has generated more than 3 million tonnes of tailings pre-1940s, much originally slurried into local rivers, wetlands, lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean. These tailings contain elevated concentrations of mercury (derived from the ore extraction process) and arsenic (from natural waste rock leaching). This study focuses on detecting and monitoring contaminated tailings transport into receiving environments.
In this study, in situ spectral reflectance measurements are obtained using two different approaches. One approach is designed to relate target spectral reflectance to optical remote sensing, relying on sun and sky illumination and retrieving reflected spectral radiance along the line-of-sight to an orbiting sensor. The other approach follows methodology used by geologists in determining target mineralogy. Here, a reference light source illuminates along the reflected radiance pathway. The two results are evaluated to spectral reflectance acquired with EO-1 Hyperion. Spectral unmixing is then used to delineate landcover and sites of potential contamination. A correlation between landcover and tailings concentration resulting from natural transport supports assessing future delivery, assessing risk factors to human and ecosystem health, and remediation planning.
Comparison of the two field approaches, and their application to remote sensing, highlight the application of remote sensing with complimentary in situ spectral reflectance. This presentation focuses on the application of evaluating tailings transport from historic goldmines with special emphasis on the impacts on the local environments surrounding the Upper and Lower Seal Harbour areas of Nova Scotia.

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