Department of Exploration

Division Exploration of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology

The Department of Exploration aims to develop new and efficient technologies for the exploration of mineral resources. Their research focus is on the use of unmanned aerial systems with various sensors and exploration methods, multi- and hyperspectral remote sensing, tectonic geomorphology, as well as lithogeochemistry and its correlation with multi-scale in situ data. Further research is conducted on laser-induced fluorescence and luminescence spectroscopy.

Research Fields

Foto: Landsat-8-Satellitenaufnahme aus der Gegend um Mount Isa, Queensland, Australien. Das Falschfarbenbild macht spektrale Unterschiede zwischen verschiedenen Gesteinen sichtbar, die mit Echtfarben so nicht zu sehen wären. ref ©Copyright: HZDR/ Sandra Jakob

Geological Remote Sensing

In geological remote sensing, scientists use contactless measurement ­techno­logies to digitally record the specific characteristics of the earth´s surface. These can either be spectral characteristics of minerals and vegetation or the morphometric expression of mineral deposits. The aim is to capture their spatial distribution and expansion. The Departments´s strength is combining multi-scale data and multi-source data into a composite model to assess the potential of natural mineral deposits.
Foto: Laser Detailbild ©Copyright: HZDR/ Detlev Müller

Laser-Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy

In Laser-Induced Fluorescence spectroscopy (LIF), a laser stimulates a sample surface, which results in a specific glow. This spectroscopic measurement technique is used to characterize materials as well as their constitutive componen­ts fast and precise. The Exploration Department focuses on critical raw materials in natural rock such as rare earth elements, vanadium, chromium, ­tungs­ten or molybdenum.
Foto: Rohstofferkundung mit Drohnen ©Copyright: HZDR

Mineral Exploration with Drones

The Exploration Department uses Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also known as drones, to develop less invasive and high-resolution methods for the exploration of mineral and metalliferous raw materials. The methods utilized include aerial photogrammetry, multi- and hyperspectral remote sensing, as well as geophysical methods. The scientists use the data, obtained from drone flights, in geological remote sensing and 3-D modeling to understand the structural control and pathways of mineralized fluids.
Foto: BGR Helicopter ©Copyright: BGR/ Bernhard Siemon

Geophysical Exploration of Mineral Resources in the Erzgebirge

Testing and developing modern techniques for the delineation of mineral resources to depths reaching 500 ­meters is the main task of this project. Scientists combine geological data with airborne geophysical measurements. Current exploration focuses on an area of approximately 100 square kilo­meters around the city of Geyer in the Erzgebirge, a low mountain range located in Eastern Germany. The ­information will ultimately be included in a high resolution, three-dimensional geological model.