Центрально-Азиатский Институт прикладных Исследований Земли (ЦАИИЗ)

Центрально-Азиатский Институт прикладных Исследований Земли (ЦАИИЗ)
Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG)

EO-Miners: Earth Observation for Monitoring of Mineral Resources Exploration and Exploitation

      Earth Observation for Monitoring and Observing Environmental and Societal Impacts of Mineral Resources Exploration and Exploitation (EO-MINERS)

      EO-MINERS aimed at integrating new and existing Earth Observation tools to improve best practice in mining activities and to reduce the mining related environmental and societal footprint by

  • introducing innovative remote sensing tools to the mining industry,
  • providing accuracy and quality measures for remote sensing products,
  • demonstrating the application of Earth Observation in different case studies,
  • fostering the dialogue between mining industry and environmental organisations based on EO-derived information and
  • generalising the obtained results to be used in operational mining applications in the future.

      The project was implemented by 14 international organisations and institutes. 

Beneficiary Number

Beneficiary name

Beneficiary short name


1 (Coordinator)

Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières




British Geological Survey


United Kingdom


Tel-Aviv University




Deutsches Zentrum für Luft - und Raumfahrt e.V.




Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie GmbH




Geoloski Zavod Slovenije




Mineral Industry Research Organisation


United Kingdom


Council for Geoscience


South Africa


Anglo Operation Ltd – Anglo Technical Division


South Africa


Université de Versailles – St Quentin




Česká Geologická Služba


Czech Republic


Sokolovská Uhelná a.s.


Czech Republic


Central Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences







    The main objective of this project was to develop EO tools for monitoring and observing environmental and societal impacts of mineral resources exploration and exploitation.

    The project is primarily focused on the improvement of specialized software in selected demonstration areas around the world. New approaches were applied in processing of different data set through various integrations. Certain algorithms for data integration and data processing have been tested and / or developed at this stage, given the conditions of the test site and the various thematic requirements put by mining companies and geological surveys. A number of GIS thematic maps produced as a result of these activities were used to estimate the footprint and risk analysis.

    To achieve the objectives of the project 3 test sites were selected:

  • In Europe, in densely populated areas: Sokolov lignite-brown coal pit, located in the Czech Republic;
  • Difficult-exploited areas in South Africa: Witbank black coal deposits, Province of Mpumalanga, South Africa;
  • In Kyrgyzstan: Makmal gold mine, JSC "KyrgyzAltyn."

    These three sites enabled to address the following issues with a particular focus on reducing the environmental footprint of mining industry, from survey work to full recovery. The work packages of the project paid particular attention to field works to obtain reliable information about the test site locations. 

    Object of the study. The object of the study in Kyrgyzstan is the impact of Makmal gold mine on the geo-ecological conditions of the environment and water resources. The gold extraction process is based on the heap leaching using toxic materials (sodium cyanide) and subsequent stockpiling of refined products at the tailing pond.

    Importance of the study. Kyrgyzstan is one of the leading mining countries of Central Asia. It keeps one of the leading places in the world by amount of gold mined. Currently, the mining industry in our country is one of the most important sectors of economic development.

    Exploitation of mineral resources is associated with anthropogenic impacts on the environment. Mainly, it relates to the industrial regions with large reserves of mineral resources and therefore with a high concentration of mining production. In this case, it is the Toguz – Toro district, Jalal – Abad province.

    Starting from the 50s of the last century, mining and mineral processing in the country steadily increased, and at the same time there was an increase of the rate and scale of landscape degradation, pollution and other negative impacts of mining. This fact proves the relevance of geo-ecological assessment and development of an effective monitoring system, using modern GIS technology in order to reduce the effects of mining on the environment, and most importantly the impact of mines on transboundary water resources.

    Research methods. To obtain more reliable data on the area of research the field methods of taking samples were used, as well as laboratory analysis to determine the chemical composition of the samples and GIS methods of data interpretation. CAIAG specialists on a par with their foreign counterparts carried out the planned tasks.

    The aim of the research work at the Makmal gold mine was to develop methods and tools that help to facilitate and improve the interaction between the mining industry and society through the use of methods and tools based on Earth Observation (EO).

     These methods enable to collect data relating to a specific area and can be used to objectively assess the potential environmental and socio-economic consequences for the life of the mining site, from exploration to final closure. The obtained products (results) will help to make the decision making process more transparent. They will maintain transparency between the mining industry, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders such as local communities and non-government organisations (NGOs).

    It is important to note that they increase the abilities of the public by providing a comprehensive geo-information (for example, interactive maps) so that it becomes clear to stakeholders who have different skills and different levels of basic knowledge. All this has been achieved through the integration of different data sets in separate EO products under the joint international project on Earth Observation to assess the environmental and social impacts from the extractive industries (EO-Miners).

    Also, the objectives of the work were to use GIS tools to help to identify the scale of mining related impact on the environment and society. This, in turn, helped them to reduce and improve the public perception of mining projects and related activities. To achieve this goal it was necessary to ensure objectivity and accuracy of the collected material. To meet these criteria, the data were collected using remote sensing techniques and were integrated with information collected in the field. It should be noted that in the framework of the EO-MINERS project the scientific data have been collected and presented only in the area around the Makmal processing plant near the Kazarman village and around the tailings dam. Thus, all the presented EO products reflect the situation around the area of the gold ore processing plant (gold extracting plant).

Scientific novelty of the research:

  • geo-ecological assessment of mining impact using GIS technologies was conducted;
  • environmental assessment of mine’s activities was carried out;
  • virtually, there is no relation between local community morbidity and mine’s activities.

    The scientific value of the work lies in the fact that, on the basis of geo-ecological assessment of impact by the mining industry with the use of GIS software, the level of anthropogenic pressure on the different areas Toguz - Toro district was determined and it was proved that the activity of Makmal mine didn’t pose a serious threat to the health of the population (Figure 4).

     The practical significance of the work is that the developed specialized GIS maps and the software allow to quickly assess the anthropogenic impact, to conduct a comprehensive monitoring, as well as to act as a tool for management decision-making and for the development of regional environment protection activities. Monitoring tools and specialized software will be transferred to JSC KyrgyzAltyn and Makmal gold mine for future monitoring of the environment and water bodies in the local area.


     The main results are:

  1. On the basis of analysis of the state of land, mineral and water resources, air quality, the activities of enterprises, an optimized set of factors and indicators was identified that affect the state of ecological and geological systems.
  2. It was proved that a set of indicators of that impact should act as a basis of geo-ecological assessment of human impacts.
  3. The study of mining activities and their impact was conducted finding of which were as follows:

- absence of negative environmental impact made by the Makmal mine;

- a statistical proof of the lack of connection between the morbidity and gold mining activities in the respective district;

  1. The structure of a database of the environmental geographic information system was developed.
  2. The system of GIS technology-based integrated monitoring of human impact for effective environmental management of the Makmal gold mine was developed.

 logo real

Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences

Kyrgyz Republic
720027 Bishkek
Timur Frunze Rd.73/2

Site Map
Stay in touch

+996 312 555111
+996 312 555222