08 Jul 2019


It is with great interest that Geoimage is following progress made by the Church of England (CoE) and the Swedish National Pension Funds (Council on Ethics) (SNPF) via their Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative.  Through this initiative they have highlighted the need for greater transparency of mining activities and potential risks, particularly tailings dam operations.

It’s been reported by AFR (Matthew Stevens 11 June 2019) that the CoE observes: “There is currently no consolidated register of TSF (Tailings Storage Facilities).  It has been estimated that there are approximately 18000 TSF worldwide, of which approximately 3500 are currently active.  However, without a global register, the precise scale of the risks is not clear, nor is it clear which company has responsibility for which facilities.”

Industry is investing with renewed vigour in the design, construction and monitoring methods of TSF and the risks they present to the environment and local communities. There are many ways to monitor TSF and each organisation will have its own approach based on a multitude of factors. “Boots on ground” approaches using traditional survey methods have been supplemented with sensor systems such as piezometers to measure real-time variations in pore pressure.  All of this can be further enhanced with remote sensing InSAR* data that provides highly accurate and independent monitoring from space.

*InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar), is a method that can measure small changes in vertical movement (7mm) from satellite sensors orbiting the Earth at 600km above the ground.

Two ways JBgeoimage are assisting clients to manage their TSF

SMM (Surface Movement Monitoring) Using InSAR

For more than 30 years Geoimage has been serving the mining and exploration sector.  For the past few years Geoimage has joined with Jensen Bowers (professional surveying business of 110 years) to create the combined resources of JBgeoimage - Applied Spatial Intelligence.  JBgeoimage’s commitment to spatial industry leadership has seen it invest in InSAR.  We are now providing a service referred to as SMM (Surface Movement Monitoring) that uses InSAR.

JBgeoimage has been involved in early Australian trials with leading organisations for both mining applications (tailing dam walls) and linear infrastructure (motorways).  Globally it is well tested and verified technology and it provides an accurate and totally independent movement detection system.


JBgeoimage will soon be making a series of announcements about its innovative and timely atlasTSF interactive dashboard and supporting database for monitoring and analysing TSF around the world.

Here’s a sneak preview of the atlasTSF dashboard with dynamic filters;

1 – TSF filtered on the ANGOLD Hazard rating

2 – filter on company name

3 – filter on TSF Status - active

4 - interactive graph on TSF initial date of operation

5 – filter on Hazard Classification System

6 – 30cm resolution imagery of TSF captured from satellite

7 – tabular information on company and TSF status within a geographically cluster.

EXAMPLE 1 - atlasTSF showing satellite imagery of a TSF in North America that meets the criteria in the numbered filters.

EXAMPLE 2 - A zoomed-out view in atlasTSF showing a TSF cluster In South Africa.

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