Systematic evaluation of satellite remote sensing for identifying uranium mines and mills.

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In this report, we systematically evaluate the ability of current-generation, satellite-based spectroscopic sensors to distinguish uranium mines and mills from other mineral mining and milling operations. We perform this systematic evaluation by (1) outlining the remote, spectroscopic signal generation process, (2) documenting the capabilities of current commercial satellite systems, (3) systematically comparing the uranium mining and milling process to other mineral mining and milling operations, and (4) identifying the most promising observables associated with uranium mining and milling that can be identified using satellite remote sensing. The Ranger uranium mine and mill in Australia serves as a case study where ... continued below

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64 p.

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Blair, Dianna Sue; Stork, Christopher Lyle; Smartt, Heidi Anne & Smith, Jody Lynn January 1, 2006.

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Description

In this report, we systematically evaluate the ability of current-generation, satellite-based spectroscopic sensors to distinguish uranium mines and mills from other mineral mining and milling operations. We perform this systematic evaluation by (1) outlining the remote, spectroscopic signal generation process, (2) documenting the capabilities of current commercial satellite systems, (3) systematically comparing the uranium mining and milling process to other mineral mining and milling operations, and (4) identifying the most promising observables associated with uranium mining and milling that can be identified using satellite remote sensing. The Ranger uranium mine and mill in Australia serves as a case study where we apply and test the techniques developed in this systematic analysis. Based on literature research of mineral mining and milling practices, we develop a decision tree which utilizes the information contained in one or more observables to determine whether uranium is possibly being mined and/or milled at a given site. Promising observables associated with uranium mining and milling at the Ranger site included in the decision tree are uranium ore, sulfur, the uranium pregnant leach liquor, ammonia, and uranyl compounds and sulfate ion disposed of in the tailings pond. Based on the size, concentration, and spectral characteristics of these promising observables, we then determine whether these observables can be identified using current commercial satellite systems, namely Hyperion, ASTER, and Quickbird. We conclude that the only promising observables at Ranger that can be uniquely identified using a current commercial satellite system (notably Hyperion) are magnesium chlorite in the open pit mine and the sulfur stockpile. Based on the identified magnesium chlorite and sulfur observables, the decision tree narrows the possible mineral candidates at Ranger to uranium, copper, zinc, manganese, vanadium, the rare earths, and phosphorus, all of which are milled using sulfuric acid leaching.

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64 p.

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  • Report No.: SAND2005-7791
  • Grant Number: AC04-94AL85000
  • DOI: 10.2172/876527 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 876527
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc876860

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  • January 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 8, 2016, 11:25 p.m.

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Blair, Dianna Sue; Stork, Christopher Lyle; Smartt, Heidi Anne & Smith, Jody Lynn. Systematic evaluation of satellite remote sensing for identifying uranium mines and mills., report, January 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc876860/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.