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IMARC 2023: How space is helping mining rise to new heights

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

The 2023 International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney this month is bringing together two seemingly distinct industries, mining and space exploration, to collaborate on innovations that will take both sectors to new horizons.

Arvind Ramana, Director of Space Technology Uplift at the Australian Space Agency and a feature panellist at IMARC, believes innovations in space are directly applicable to the mission of accelerating efforts to decarbonise the economy.

He highlights the role of space-based technology in detecting and accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, and the importance of space-based sensors in enabling companies and nations to track emissions swiftly and accurately.

“Space acts as a vantage point and an enabler for all critical technologies, imparting value to industries like mining and agriculture by serving as a critical enabler for innovation and productivity,” according to Mr Ramana, who is part of a special IMARC panel to explore the impacts of space robotics, advancements in terrestrial robotics, and the provision of robust, resilient, and productive solutions.

He believes confronting growing concerns about sustainability represents a universal challenge, with both the space and mining industries grappling with the need for more sustainable and responsible practices.

“Space and sustainability are domains where collective international efforts are best positioned to achieve superior outcomes for humanity. What is needed is for nations to collaborate, share best practices, and establish guidelines for ethical conduct, aligning with the direction the mining sector is taking toward sustainability. Space technology plays a crucial role in the early stages of emissions reduction, laying the groundwork for addressing the challenges of global warming.”

Dr Jonathan Stock, Director of the National Innovation Centre at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), will also be offering IMARC delegates valuable insights into the application of space innovation in reducing our carbon footprint.

“The technologies developed for space missions inherently lead to improved efficiencies for renewable energy on Earth, as a byproduct of the challenges associated with operating off-world where oxygen is scarce,” he says.

Mr Stock points to the partnership between NASA and USGS, which aims to identify important resources available on Earth and beyond.

“Many different organisations, both public and private, are working together to enhance the tools and technologies used in subsurface exploration. They are focusing on using artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, advanced computing, and specialised equipment to make resource detection and assessment not only faster but more affordable.”

Mr Stock notes that the collaborative initiative accelerates our capacity to image the subsurface of planetary bodies, contributing to the creation of critical resource maps and enhancing scientific understanding.

“The knowledge gained from these endeavours will play a pivotal role in supporting upcoming NASA missions and the emerging space economy. We are inviting the global community to participate in an international effort aimed at advancing sensor technologies, platforms, and enabling technologies. This partnership is a step forward for humanity, and it means that we will have better tools at our disposal for exploring resources, whether on our planet or in space.”

Jonathan Stock will host an Exploration & Space Information Session on day 1, October 31st, from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM in room E5.7. This session, hosted in collaboration between AROSE and the USGS, explores technologies to image planetary subsurfaces and their implications for resource mapping, scientific research, and NASA missions.

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Australian mining news