Projekt CoCoMo

Copernicus for Contamination Monitoring and Decision Support in Active Mining and Rehabilitation (CoCoMo)

CoCoMo is carried out and supervised by the Institute for Mine Surveying and Geodesy at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. Support is provided by the EIT RawMaterials partner EFTAS and associated partners from the mining industry.

Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Christian Köhler
Supervisor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Benndorf

Project Summary:

Mining activities strongly influence the environment, e.g. by causing ground movements or producing contaminated waste dumps and water entities during the active operation and rehabilitation phases. Thus monitoring and managing the contamination is essential as it reduces environmental impact and therefore increases social acceptance.

CoCoMo aims at the development of a contamination monitoring and decision support/early warning system for active and closed mining facilities. Focus is laid on the vicinity of media pipelines of gas and oil storage caverns and waste dumps of active and abandoned mines. We target the integration and exploitation multi-scale spatio-temporal data, originating from Copernicus Sentinel satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground based in-situ measurements.

This Remote Sensing (Sentinel, UAV) appoach for environmental monitoring and early, supported by ground based in-situ data, delivers spatially and timely dense information. That, in turn, renders automatisation of the contamination analysis feasable, opening an avenue for cost effective and nearly real-time monitoring products.

Mine operators face the request of legal authorities for monitoring solutions as prerequisite for issuing operation permits.Todays mainly manual, terrestrial monitoring is costly in terms of money, time and man power, potentially dangerous for personal and, in addition, limited to small spatial areas and long measurement intervals. Thus, cost effective remote sensing based monitoring solutions that deliver comprehensive data are highly desired by mine operators, engineering companies (offering monitoring and consulting services) or after care associations.

An increasing interest of the public in mining related environmental impacts requires  reassesment and readjustment of social acceptance – a considerate business risk in the mining sector. CoCoMo‘s open source project results and publically available Copernicus data, increase transparency in communication between mining companies and public stakeholders (social and environmental initiatives, governmental bodies). Together with the education of future players in the mining industry through dissemination of results in the scientific community, this reduces environmental impact, increases social acceptance and ensures save and effective operation.

The objectives of the project are:


  1. Integrate multi-scale (Copernicus Sentinel, UAV, ground-based), multi- and hyperspectral spatio-temporal data into one comprehensive data product.
  2. Assess the potential of multidimensional spatio-temporal data for environmental contamination monitoring.
  3. Developement of workflows and algorithms for early, nearly real-time identification of potentially contaminated areas.
Diagramm 1Diagramm 2 
 Diagramm 3 Diagramm 4

Abbildung 1 Redness Index (ri) as exemplary multi-spectral index in a region where contamination occurred. Characteristic changes in the temporal evolution of ri indicate potential contamination.

Diagramm 5


Abbildung 2 Time series of the Redness Index (ri) as exemplary multi-spectral index in a region where contamination occurred. ‚Contaminated region‘ refers to the right red rectangle, ‚not contaminated region‘ to the left red rectangle in the figure above. Characteristic changes in the temporal evolution of ri indicate potential contamination.