Launched in January 2023, S34I is a 30-month European project coordinated by University of Oporto and it will research and innovate new data-driven methods to analyse Earth Observation (EO) data, supporting systematic mineral exploration and continuous monitoring of extraction, closure and post-closure activities with the aim to increase European knowledge and autonomy on raw materials resources. S34I will also support mining’s social acceptance (SLO) and better legislation.

S34I will exploit Copernicus and other satellite sensors (optical and radar), while other platforms as airborne, low altitude platforms, ground-based, in-situ techniques/methods, and fieldwork will serve either for calibration, validation or to complement Copernicus data especially at the very high scale spatial or spectral resolution.

Innovative EO-based products/services will provide new or more accurate RAW MATERIALS mineral mapping/exploration, environmental and mine monitoring and mine safety, at different phases of the mine life cycle.

S34I will provide 6 new open high added value datasets, 14 new methods to analyze EO data using Artificial Intelligence being utilized at different phases of the mining life cycle, 3 new prototyped EO based services for mining stakeholders, 1 research and innovation agenda on EO for mining, a set of recommendations for better policy, and guidelines for EO uptake by the mining industry.


Given the overall S34I aim, its specific objectives are relevant to the topic as stated below.

  • Explore and prototype new methods to utilise EO data for analysis or decision making in different phases of the mining life cycle at various scales exploiting the existing multitude of satellite based EO datasets in combination with other data, as needed.

  • Deliver high added value unbiased open linked datasets and metadata, at least on both potential hazardous sites (i.e., water quality, contaminant transport towards natural water bodies, soil degradation, instabilities, etc.) and potential new or weakly known raw materials deposits.

  • Demonstrate feasibility, performance and added value of these non-invasive new methods and derived services in concrete raw materials and EU mining sites, at various scales, for both critical and non-critical materials of interest for EU industry and consumers.

  • Improve the perception of mining in society together with mining stakeholders, EU mining industry, policymakers and public activists.

  • Develop sustainability and digitalization best practices useful for up-skilling the mining sector workers, greening the mining industry, building capacity among national geo-science services across the EU and promoting new science-based mining related policies.

The Ambition



To prototype EO based methods and services, S34I will use those results on important transversal processes within the mining life-cycle – green transition, social acceptance and more agile legislation:

  • To support the sustainability transition of extractive industries, by for example assessing the volume of recovering materials from tailings and dumps and thus potentially reducing the overall demand for new mines and land use for mining and waste disposal;

  • To derive independent and currently not available environmental and /or social / socio-economic information to trigger an EO-based change towards greening the mining life-cycle, increase transparency for all stakeholders and support mining’s public awareness;

  • To assess remote sensing skills to support mining permitting processes in order to make them more transparent, faster and more cost-effective as compared to current processes, so better legislation is promoted. For all those three transversal processes S34I will study various scales – local, regional and national –supporting all different mining stakeholders, from mine owners, industries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local citizens to mining authorities.