Mineral Mapping Using the Automatized Gaussian Model (AGM)—Application to Two Industrial French Sites at Gardanne and Thann

Research areas:
Remote Sensing
The identification and mapping of the mineral composition of by-products and residues on industrial sites is a topic of growing interest because it may provide information on plant-processing activities and their impact on the surrounding environment. Imaging spectroscopy can provide such information based on the spectral signatures of soil mineral markers. In this study, we use the automatized Gaussian model (AGM), an automated, physically based method relying on spectral deconvolution. Originally developed for the short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) range, it has been extended to include information from the visible and near-infrared (VNIR) range to take iron oxides/hydroxides into account. We present the results of its application to two French industrial sites: (i) the Altéo Environnement site in Gardanne, southern France, dedicated to the extraction of alumina from bauxite; and (ii) the Millennium Inorganic Chemicals site in Thann, eastern France, which produces titanium dioxide from ilmenite and rutile, and its associated Séché Éco Services site used to neutralize the resulting effluents, producing gypsum. HySpex hyperspectral images were acquired over Gardanne in September 2013 and an APEX image was acquired over Thann in June 2013. In both cases, reflectance spectra were measured and samples were collected in the field and analyzed for mineralogical and chemical composition. When applying the AGM to the images, both in the VNIR and SWIR ranges, we successfully identified and mapped minerals of interest characteristic of each site: bauxite, Bauxaline® and alumina for Gardanne; and red and white gypsum and calcite for Thann. Identifications and maps were consistent with in situ measurements.