Assessing impacts of mining: Recent contributions from GIS and remote sensing

T. T. Werner, Anthony Bebbington, Gillian Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mining produces several environmental, social, and economic impacts which can be analysed spatially using remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS). This paper provides an overview of recent studies using these techniques to assess mining impacts on water, land, and society. It also highlights the geographic complexities of these impacts via mining case studies, and discusses spatial research methods, data sources, and limitations. Despite noted simplifications, risks, and uncertainties of mapping the impacts of mining, the cases included in our overview illustrate that there are clearly beneficial applications. At a local level, these include environmental and socioeconomic risk assessments, disaster mitigation, and adjudication on mine-related conflicts. At a regional level, spatial analyses can support cumulative and strategic impact assessments. At a global level, spatial analyses can reveal industry-wide land use trends, and provide key land use data for comparative analyses of mining impacts between commodities, locations, and mine configurations. The degree to which such benefits are realised will likely depend on the resources afforded to what is a growing field of study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1012
Number of pages20
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • GIS
  • Impact assessment
  • Land use change
  • Mining
  • Remote sensing

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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