On the 28th of March 2020, a significant tailings incident occurred at the Luming Mine facility, situated in China’s north-eastern province of Heilongjiang. Early reports suggested there had been a large amount of seepage from the facility which could have impacted the mining community and contaminated the local water supply. These claims, however, had not been backed-up by official responses from the state and no additional information had been provided by the mine operator.
As a result of the suspected negative socio-environmental impact, the investment community were concerned about the status of the incident and required additional information to help their current and future investment strategy. This case study demonstrates how, using satellite technology and the latest analytics GlobalTrust was able to rapidly monitor the socio-environmental impact of critical infrastructure such as tailings storage facilities.
GlobalTrust carried out satellite-based analytics to validate the sparse reports coming out of local news outlets and to quantify the damage, if any, to the local communities and environment.
Using multi-spectral satellite imagery GlobalTrust was able to quickly identify the presence of seepage from the facility, in addition to estimating the spread of pollution into the local mining settlement and the adjacent river system. Within the first 10 days, traces of the tailings could be detected in excess of 115km downstream of the tailings facility. The analytics also identified that large areas of vegetation close to the waste storage facilities had been destroyed where the riverbanks had burst with the influx of tailings.
GlobalTrust rapidly provided the above analytics, interpretations and recommendations into a briefing pack to the Investor Mining & Tailings Safety Initiative to help inform their asset managers and facilitate their ongoing investment strategy into similar assets. This type of trusted environmental, social and governance information, provided near real time, is critical to limit risk, maximise profits for the investment community and ensure ongoing good practices within mining companies.