INTEGRATED SAR TECHNOLOGIES FOR MONITORING THE STABILITY OF MINE SITES: APPLICATION USING TERRASAR-X AND RADARSAT-2 IMAGES
- Effigis Geo-Solutions, 4101, Molson Street, Suite 400, Montreal, Quebec, H1Y 3L1, Canada
Keywords: SAR, interferometry, mine site stability, permafrost, TerraSAR-X, RADARSAT-2
Abstract. The last three decades have seen significant mining development in the northern regions of Canada, where the freeze and thaw cycle of permafrost and corresponding surface subsidence and heave represent a significant challenge at all mining stages, from the design of infrastructures to the monitoring of restored areas. Over the past ten years, SAR interferometry has been widely used to monitor ground surface deformation. With this technique, changes in phase between two SAR acquisitions are used to detect centimetre to millimetre surface displacements over a large area with high spatial resolution. This paper presents the results of a project that aims to develop a SAR solution to provide useful information for environmental monitoring and assessing the stability of mining sites. RADARSAT-2 and TerraSAR-X images acquired during the summer of 2014 were used to measure the displacements of ground surface, infrastructures and stockpiles caused by seasonal changes in permafrost extent. The study area is an open-pit mine located in Nunavut, northern Canada, in the continuous permafrost zone. Results shown that surface displacements calculated from RADARSAT-2 and TerraSAR-X are very similar and in agreement with scientific and terrain knowledge. Significant displacements were observed in loose soil areas while none was detected in bedrock and rock outcrop areas. The areas most affected by active layer changes showed surface subsidence during the thaw settlement period. Thus, InSAR can be used as a tool to guide the siting and design of new infrastructure as well as highlighting risks in areas of unstable terrain.