Classification of indicators measuring environmental sustainability of mining and processing of copper

fuentes, marcelo; Negrete, Moira; Herrera-Leon, Sebastian; Kraslawski, Andrzej


In recent years, the demand for copper has increased considerably due to population growth, economic development, and the transition of the power sector to sustainable energy. Increases in copper production created an additional pressure on the environment resulting in a need for accurate assessment of environmental sustainability of copper extraction. However, environmental sustainability evaluation remains a challenge since it begins with the selection of methods and metrics used to measure it at different space scales and in different time periods, which it is not a trivial task. One alternative solution consists in using environmental sustainability indicators (ESIs), which provide clear and precise information about the conditions, trends, and changes in the environment. The growing importance of environmental sustainability resulted in emergence of huge number of indicators. The abundance of ESIs makes their use a quite challenging task. This research systematizes and analyzes a set of environmental sustainability indicators used to evaluate the environmental performance of copper production systems. The proposed methodology uses a systematic content analysis focused on the identification of environmental sustainability indicators intended to evaluate the performance of copper production systems. Classification of the main ESI characteristics identified in the references was carried out based on four general dimensions: 1) categories of environmental sustainability; 2) method/ technique used to calculate the indicator; 3) spatial and temporal scales used to quantify the indicator; and 4) types of data sources used to calculate the indicator. A total of 95 indicators were identified and results of the analysis show that the indicators related to energy and water consumption category are used the most often. Besides, we observed a clear tendency to use methodological approaches such as the life cycle assessment and eco-efficiency framework. The "present" timescale, along with the "global" spatial scale, was identified as the most frequent temporal scale analyzed in the documents.

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Título según WOS: Classification of indicators measuring environmental sustainability of mining and processing of copper
Título de la Revista: MINERALS ENGINEERING
Volumen: 170
Fecha de publicación: 2021


Notas: ISI