Escayo, J., Marzan, I., Martí, D., Tornos, F., Farci, A., Schimmel, M., Carbonell, R., & Fernández, J. (2022). Radar Interferometry as a Monitoring Tool for an Active Mining Area Using Sentinel-1 C-Band Data, Case Study of Riotinto Mine. In Remote Sensing (Vol. 14, Issue 13). https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14133061
Soil instability is a major hazard facing the mining industry in its role of supplying the indispensable mineral resources that our societal challenges require. Aiming to demonstrate the monitoring potential of radar satellites in the mining sector, we analyze the deformation field in the Riotinto mine, Spain. We propose a new method for combining ascending and descending results into a common dataset that provides better resolution. We project the LOS measurements resulting from both geometries to a common reference system without applying any type of geometric restriction. As a projection system, we use the vertical direction in flat areas and the slope in steep topographies. We then identify and remove outliers and artifacts from the joint dataset to finally obtain a deformation map that combines the two acquisition perspectives. The results in the Atalaya pit are consistent with GNSS measurements. The movements observed in the rock dumps were unknown before this study. We demonstrate the great potential of the Sentinel-1 satellite as a complementary tool for monitoring systems in mining environments and we call for its use to be standardized to guarantee a safe and sustainable supply of mineral resources necessary for a just technological transition.