Carbonix, Woolpert employ cutting-edge drone to collect geospatial data for coal mine rehabilitation
Leading Australian drone manufacturer and solutions provider Carbonix is collaborating with global aerial survey specialist Woolpert to assist with the rehabilitation of one of New South Wales’ oldest open cut coal mines, using cutting-edge drone and geospatial data capture technology to help in this transition.
Situated in the Upper Hunter Region, rehabilitation areas will be surveyed and modelled to identify hotspots, which could inhibit the land’s ability to regenerate and rehabilitate. The aerial data collected will be instrumental in establishing a balanced mix of grasslands capable of supporting sustainable grazing and native vegetation corridors to enhance habitat connectivity. This balance will ensure the land’s potential for productive and eco-friendly use.
Woolpert selected Carbonix’s Volanti drone as an agile flight platform to enable data capture for hotspot monitoring. The Volanti presents a safer and significantly more cost-effective tool for areas too tight for conventional crewed aircraft, like helicopters, and too vast for multi-rotor drones. Volanti’s two-plus-hour flight time and ability to fly “low and slow” with sophisticated payloads enable the aircraft to obtain a detailed view of the area.
Carbonix CEO Philip van der Burg said the project with Woolpert is a great example of two companies collaborating to provide an innovative, cost-effective, and positive environmental survey solution through the use of long-range drones.
“This is a really exciting project because we get to witness the environmental benefits of long-range drone use, twofold: Firstly, eliminating the carbon emissions and noise of traditional aircraft and secondly providing key insights to accelerate the rehabilitation of a mine.
“Beyond hotspots, there is scope to expand the project to include multispectral imagery of vegetation and scanning to determine the health of the soil – something we have already done with a number of agriculture clients in Australia and the US,” said van der Burg.
Following the aerial capture, Woolpert will process and analyse the data. Its team of spatial analysts and modellers will extract detailed features from the image data to provide actionable hotspot insights.
Woolpert Key Account Manager – Resources, Anthony Boyd said it was great to work with the team at Carbonix and to leverage the technology ideally suited for the project.
“At Woolpert, we aim to deliver the best solution available for our clients, and recently we were asked to identify hotspots with a thermal camera in mine rehabilitation areas,” said Boyd.
“Woolpert partnered with Carbonix to provide detailed geospatial insights for our client, focused on their specific needs and requirements from an environmental and community perspective.”