Top view of a large region with InSAR data points with SatSense logo on the bottom left corner

Monitoring The Impact of Mining Activities Using InSAR

Monitoring The Impact of Mining Activities Using InSAR

Wigan has a long history of mining and In the 1840’s there were over one thousand pit shafts within a 5-mile radius of Wigan town centre. The demand for coal was driving growth in Wigan’s collieries but after 1910, when national coal production peaked, the industry started a slow but steady decline. Towards the end of the 20th century, Wigan had just three working collieries, Golborne colliery was one of them, which eventually closed in 1989.

We analysed the Golborne town for mining-related ground movement through our InSAR data visualisation portal (SatShop) and found some interesting ground movement patterns.

  • As with quite a few mining areas in the UK, the area is facing the impact of groundwater movement causing the ground to heave at a steady rate.
  • The time history of movements (in the picture below) shows a steady upward movement from 2015 onwards, the movement is over 100mm specifically in the Bank Heath area.
  • And while the entire town’s ground is moving up, Golborne Industrial Park near the ‘Bonk’ (the location for the former colliery) is showing signs of downward movement or subsidence, indicated by the red points.
SatShop map showing heave in a large area near Golborne Colliery site in Wigan
SatShop map of Gilborne showing constant upward movement of ground near Golborne mining site

InSAR’s ability to track movements at scale with mm/year level precision can help mine operators and councils to constantly track legacy mining sites for any abnormal movement. Our continually updated InSAR dataset for the UK allows mining operators to make informed decisions by tracking their existing and closed mining sites for spatial and temporal ground movements. By using SatShop, mine operators can easily: 

  • Assess, monitor, and be alerted to excessive ground movements over entire mining sites without the need for boots on the ground.
  • Optimise the deployment of ground-based monitoring systems and maintenance activities.
  • Get historical data along with regular updates for the entire site at scale.

Over time, it is important to monitor legacy mining sites for movement to assess and prevent any developing hazards. Analyse and monitor ground movement trends with SatShop. Register on SatShop and explore the data coverage over your area of interest without any charge or just email us at for a walk-through demo by one of our InSAR solutions experts.