Alcoa uses remote sensing technology to measure rehabilitation

Cameron Richardson reviews the LiDAR spatial data.
Cameron Richardson reviews the LiDAR spatial data.

REHABILITATION assessment is a complex but crucial task and new technology is helping Alcoa of Australia safely and efficiently measure the progress of its world class environmental rehabilitation.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology is a remote sensing technology ideal for use in large areas, according to Alcoa Environmental Improvement Specialist Cameron Richardson who is pioneering its use for Alcoa’s environmental team.

“With the use of drones LiDAR can measure the quality of rehabilitation by producing highly detailed, three dimensional views of the landscape, offering new insights,” he said.

Mr Richardson, who is also undertaking a post graduate research project in spatial sciences and technology, said all data collected was analysed to assess the rehabilitation of an area within the Jarrah forest.

The information is being used to measure the later stages of the rehabilitation process against Alcoa’s restoration targets in an effort to continue best practice environmental rehabilitation.

“The research I am carrying out is looking at the use of LiDAR technology to identify individual trees for ongoing land management in a mixed forest ecosystem,” he said.

“The development in LiDAR technology continues Alcoa’s dedication to environmental sustainability.”

Alcoa has rehabilitated more than 19,000 hectares – 10 times the size of Rottnest Island – since its bauxite mining and associated alumina refining operations started in WA in 1963.

Alcoa’s ongoing commitment to environmental improvement was endorsed by international biodiversity conservationist Professor Thomas Lovejoy who described the company’s rehabilitation as a model for the mining industry when he toured the company’s bauxite mining operations last year.