EIT RawMaterials project RawMatCop working with UN Environment on sustainability solutions

EIT RawMaterials CopX

CopX – part of the EIT RawMaterials supported RawMatCop project – addresses the challenge of increasing transparency and the equalisation of information at mining sites.

CopX integrates with Copernicus satellite acquisitions through the MapX platform – an impartial mapping platform for natural resources developed by UN Environment and GRID-Geneva.

While raw materials are essential for human development, the mining sector faces major societal and environmental challenges. EIT RawMaterials RawMatCop programme supports projects that aim to tackle these challenges and economic, environmental and circular economy solutions for industry and society, by investigating how Copernicus/Earth observation data and services can be used and applied to industrial challenges.

One of these projects – CopX – is carried out by Dr Elsy Ibrahim of the University of Liège together with UN Environment. CopX addresses the challenge of increasing transparency and the equalisation of information at mining sites through its integration of Copernicus satellite acquisitions with the MapX platform – an impartial mapping platform for natural resources developed by UN Environment and GRID-Geneva. One key use of MapX is to create a platform populated with independent data that can be shared with policymakers to support evidence-based decision making on mining, but also the entire raw materials sector, in general. The special collaboration in CopX aims at connecting industry and agencies, research, and education, which EIT RawMaterials sees as an enabler for a sustainable, efficient and successful mining industry.

The case study considered in the CopX project – alluvial gold mining in Colombia – covers major areas in the country and is also practised in several countries in South America. This type of mining has adverse impacts on the local environment, for example, affecting biodiversity hotspots. Through its collaboration with UN Environment in Geneva and Colombia, CopX is providing tailored geospatial data on the alluvial mining and its impact through the analysis of satellite imagery from Copernicus’ Sentinel-2 mission. Image processing techniques are used to identify impacted areas and to assess environmental impacts, and prioritise possible restoration efforts.

Data fragmentation is a major challenge addressed in CopX. CopX addresses this by integrating tailored geospatial information from various stakeholders into MapX, halting the typical data fragmentation problem. This results in improved understanding for mining specialists, decision-makers, and the general public, and demonstrates the achievements that EIT RawMaterials supported projects can accomplish when collaborating with other international organisations. You can read more about the CopX project on UN Environment’s website. For further information on RawMatCop, visit EIT RawMaterials RawMatCop page.

For more information:

UN Environment: Eye in the sky – using satellites to better manage natural resources

RawMatCop – building skills and Earth observation related expertise through Copernicus

CopX – Geospatial mining transparency through Copernicus and MapX