Use of Remote Sensing Technology for the search of copper deposits in Henan province

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Context and objectives

Since many centuries, copper has been mined in small scale extraction centres in the Henan province in China. The present shortage in copper on the Chinese market has increased the interest of the state agencies and the mining companies for this region. The companies want to get a better understanding of the copper distribution to guide further geological exploration. Modern techniques such as remote sensing and GIS data integration are applied in view of cost efficiency.

In the framework of the China-Belgium co-operative programme, a joint pilot project was executed. It aims at defining how remote sensing techniques, including GIS data integration, can contribute to (a) a cost efficient basic method for mineralogical mine exploration in general and (b) the identification of target zones with a high potential for copper exploration in particular, where future in situ sampling should be concentrated.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

GIS database consisting of several integrated information layers : geological map, integrated LANDSAT TM-SPOT P image, raw and processed radiometric data for K-U-Th, aeromagnetic map, geochemical data (copper in stream sediments), results of the field campaign. Data integration allows reclassification of information and perform cross analysis, contributing in a substantial way to the geological study.
Map of lineaments (geological linear structures) and of the frequency of the lineaments
Map of favourable sites for copper exploration, indicating a selection of 4 priority zones for field prospecting

The integration of the LANDSAT TM and the SPOT P image provided the basic document to identify the linear structures likely to correspond to pegmatites and hydrothermal veins, in which copper can be found. The high spatial resolution of the SPOT P is indispensable considering the small dimension of the orebodies and lineaments. Radar image (ERS-1 SAR) data interpretation confirms the distribution and the orientation of the lineaments.
If mineralogical exploration is not based on the study of lineaments, LANDSAT TM images alone provide sufficient information because of their high spectral resolution. This has been illustrated in studies for gold-prospecting in China and cobalt-exploration in Morocco.
Location: Region:
  • Henan province