Science + Culture

UAV Soil Amendment Mapping at Detour Lake Mine


In partnership with BGC Engineering, IEG conducted a UAV survey of an organic matter reclamation cover on a constructed plateau at Detour Lake Mine. The objective of the project was to assess the distribution of a peat mineral mix (PMM) used as a cover material and create a spatially explicit map of PMM distribution to be used as a covariate in a revegetation trial.

3 D model of study area

The revegetation trial is situated on a waste-rock stockpile, capped with overburden materials. The plateau of the facility, which makes up the study area, was covered with a 0.3 m overburden growth medium, consisting of a PMM targeted to have approximately 20-30% peat by volume. Due to operational constraints, the process of spreading the PMM resulted in a spatially heterogenous distribution. Though for operational reclamation, this degree of patchiness would have been appropriate, it represented a major covariate which could disrupt learnings from the trial if not accounted for.

After acquisition of imagery from the UAV survey, the analysis followed these general steps:

Results of the project indicated a significantly higher survival for conifer seedlings planted in high peat areas than those planted in low peat areas, with survival approximately 15% higher for pine trees and 22% higher for spruce trees in high peat areas.

Areas of high and low peat