Detection and monitoring of small-scale diamond and gold mining dredges using synthetic aperture radar on the Kadéï (Sangha) River, Central African Republic
February 7, 2023
Diamond and gold mining has been practiced by artisanal miners in the Central African Republic (CAR) for decades. The recent introduction of riverine dredges indicates a transition from artisanal/manual digging and sorting techniques to small-scale mining methods. This study implements a remote sensing analysis of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data to map gold and diamond dredges operating on the Kadéï (Sangha) river in the CAR. Riverine vessels are identified in Sentinel-1 SAR data between 2015 and 2019, and their activity levels are mapped over time. The number of active dredges identified on the river increased over the five years studied, with the largest increase occurring between 2016 and 2017. Detailing a method for mapping and monitoring riverine diamond and gold dredge mining is an important step in keeping up with evolving technologies and new areas of mineral exploitation and in helping address concerns over resource governance in remote and conflict-prone terrain. The use of SAR technology, with its weather-independence, broad coverage, and available wavelength combinations, allows for higher temporal resolution and improved vessel detection in the monitoring of small-scale mining (SSM) dredges.
|Detection and monitoring of small-scale diamond and gold mining dredges using synthetic aperture radar on the Kadéï (Sangha) River, Central African Republic
|Marissa Ann Alessi, Peter G. Chirico, Sindhuja Sunder, Kelsey L. O'Pry
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Florence Bascom Geoscience Center