Mining companies are able to gain a birds-eye view of how well plants are growing in their rehabilitation areas with drone technology from a Central Queensland business.
CQG Consulting (CQG), with its business partner Dynamic Spatial Solutions (DSS), has stepped it up a notch by using drones to capture normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) data to measure live green vegetation, determine coverage and identify early warnings of plant health issues.
This data is analysed by GIS (geographic information system) and remote sensing specialists and can be overlaid with future surveys to monitor the rehabilitation program.
The innovation is among those to be highlighted when the business joins a regional showcase to be held in conjunction with the Queensland Resources Council’s State of the Sector forum in Brisbane next week.
CQG Consulting director/founder Patrice Brown said the firm’s latest offering was particularly relevant given the increasing onus on mines regarding site rehabilitation.
“It would be expensive for people on the ground to capture this level of detail. Some mines use drones to capture aerial imagery, but our team is taking it to the next level capturing spectral data of the plants,” she said.
CQG and DSS have been using drones to capture accurate volumetric data for coal stockpiles, landfill compaction rates and to monitor erosion for projects across Central Queensland for several years.
The team began investigating the potential to capture NDVI data for a pastoral company looking for tools to help ensure its land wasn’t overgrazed, she said.
With offices in Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone, as well as Brisbane, and a track record of providing environmental and GIS services in the mining industry, CQG was quick to realise the potential applications in the resources sector as well.
CQG will also use the regional showcase to promote remote water quality monitoring technology being developed in conjunction with CQUniversity.
Ms Brown said it was great to have the chance for exposure to the mining companies attending the State of the Sector forum, as it is often a challenge for businesses like CQG to get a foot in the door with resource operations.
“It can be difficult to make connections with people on the mine sites to demonstrate your local capabilities, as they are too busy and most will continue to use the same consultants, the same service providers that they always use,” she said.
“Also, many of the procurement people are based in the cities and have very little appreciation of the skills and capabilities in the regions.”
CQG Consulting is among 25 regional Queensland businesses with innovative METS solutions that are due to join the showcase on November 21.
It stems from an initiative of the Queensland Government in conjunction with METS Ignited.