Developing Remote Sensing and Machine Learning Solutions for Exploration of Critical Raw Materials and Monitoring Environmental Impact of Mining

A project coordinated by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) focuses on exploration techniques of critical raw materials (CRM) to find new deposits in the EU and, in this way, secure the availability of raw materials and strengthen the EU’s autonomy in the raw material sector. In addition, novel machine learning methods for analysing remote sensing data are developed to monitor the environmental impacts of mines to detect the impacts at the earliest possible stage.

people standing and posing to camera.
The project kick-off meeting in January 2023 gathered partners to GTK’s facilities in Espoo, Finland. Photo: Jonas L’Haridon.

MultiMiner is a European consortium with a multi-disciplinary background in geology, remote sensing and machine learning. In addition to Finland, the consortium’s members come from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Greece. Started at the beginning of 2023, the project is funded by EUR 4.4 million from Horizon Europe, the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation.

Testing novel algorithms in mining environments in Finland, Austria and Greece

The mining regions represented by the project partners across Europe are characterised by a diverse geology and have a potential for different types of CRM resources. There are already thousands of operational and closed mines in these regions. Remote sensing methods consist of state-of-the-art optical multi- and hyperspectral and synthetic aperture radar imaging using drone, airborne and satellite platforms. They can be applied for proving information for systematic mineral exploration and continuous monitoring of extraction, closure and post closure activities.

Algorithms are tested in real-life mining environments in four research areas where CRMs are produced: Siilinjärvi, Finland (phosphate); Hochfilzen, Austria (magnesite), Chalkidiki, Greece (antimony, gold, silver, copper, lead); and Kallyntiri, Greece (antimony). Data is also collected in the field in these areas to validate the newly developed algorithms.

Further information

Pauliina Liwata-Kenttälä
geologist, GTK
Tel. +358 29 503 4133

Maarit Middleton
Associate Research Professor, GTK

The MultiMiner project is funded by the European Union
Grant Agreement No. 101091374-HORIZON-CL4-2022-RESILIENCE-01-08MULTIMINER