LWIR imaging opens up new exploration opportunities in unexplored terrains. It can directly image ore minerals, unlike previous remote sensing systems that focused on alteration assemblages such as clays. This imaging can be used for established mining areas as well as frontier locations. Over 3 million scenes of LWIR satellite date are available globally. Each one of these scenes covers 60 x 60 kilometers at 90 meter pixel size.
LWIR has been under-utilized by the exploratio industry, instead focusing on shortwave data. LWIR shows spectra patterns that are easier to recognize for minerals such as quartz, potassium feldspar, pyrite and biotite. These spectra patterns are much clearer than near infrared or shortwave infrared bands traditionally used in remote sensing.
Our proprietary algorithms decompse LWIR spectral components to define spectral end-members. For each end-member spectra, pixels are assigned a value (from 0-1) based on how similar spectrum is to the end-member of interest. Based on this value pixels are graded by colour to generate an intensity heat map.
The method is very efficient in cost and timing, cutting down survey time from months down to days. Surveys can cover thousands of square kilometers without the need for any permits making it an excellent tool for early-stage regional targeting. Spectral comparisons and filtering can be used for most major minerals and ore minerals for copper, zinc, lithium, graphite,cobalt, as well as oil and natural gas. LWIR mineral surveys can be completed in days compared to months for other exploration techniques and cost less than 5% of what traditional methods cost at equivalent resolutions. LWIR works in sand or vegetation cover, where traditional surveys may not.
LWIR adds the challenge of mathematical corrections not required with SWIR data. SWIR data offers 60-meter pixels compared to 90-meter pixels for LWIR. Many professionals opted for higher resolution, without considering other factors. LWIR technology is also historically more difficult to procure due to potential military applications.