Leica provides equipment to monitor Mongolian mineral works

By Doug Murphy

Leica Geosystems has provided crucial surveying equipment for a joint German-Mongolian surveying project, aimed at monitoring the increasing extraction of the Central Asian nation's rich mineral reserves.

The project was proposed after more and more mining and ore extraction operations started up on the previously untouched, remote steppes of Mongolia. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research began sponsoring a research project at the beginning of this year, to see how the extraction processes could best be managed sustainably.

The Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Ulaanbaatar - which is carrying out the research along with scientists from Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Science in Höxter - did not have the necessary equipment to carry out the task, however - which is where Leica Geosystems stepped in.

They made two GPS systems available to the university, from the winter semester in 2010, to allow them to undertake the appropriate training and tests with the equipment before beginning work on the surveying field campaign this summer.

It is hoped that the use of remote sensing data will allow for the differentiation between various types of land affected by mining activities, such as open-cast mines, reclaimed areas, and sites abandoned without restoration, as automatically as possible. This could help cut down on illegal extraction and unsustainable exploitation of the resources.




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