New eye-in-the-sky to combat illegal mining in Peru

Peru has taken the battle against illegal mining into outer-space, using their French-built Astrosat-300 to carry out surveillance across the country.

The satellite is regarded a controversial purchase at US$213 million, as it has not been seen or approved by the Peruvian comptroller, and no preliminary reports have been done prior to buying the satellite and related infrastructure.

France already provides Peru with satellite imagery, according to Peruvian news agency Andina.

The French ambassador to Peru, Jean Jacques Beaussou, has said the satellite will be used not only to spot illegal mining operations, but to survey marine wealth and control illegal fishing, and to monitor areas affected by natural disasters.

“Peru is set to enter a new era in the scientific activity, in the use of cartography and in the economic management of fisheries, agriculture, security, among areas,” he said.

Peru will also make the technology available to the private sector through the Space Agency of Peru (CONIDA).

Beaussou said 50 Peruvian engineers and technicians will travel to France over the next two years to take part in the design, construction, launch, and control of the satellite.

The Astrosat-300 is due to be launched in 2016, and according to Beaussou it will be the most modern spacecraft operated by any South American nation.

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