Life-of-resource sustainability considerations for mining

Engineers Media Pty Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2012, 10 (1), pp. 47 - 56
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Mining in Australia is booming. Notwithstanding, production conditions are progressively transitioning from the mining of cheaper, easily accessible and higher quality ores to lower grade, more remote, complex and expensive ores. Sustainability discussions in the minerals industry have largely sought to improve the social and environmental performance of individual operations, including planning for closure. However, the national implications of a change in the circumstances underpinning the current prosperity of mining are underexplored. This paper uses a peak minerals metaphor to map life-of-resource environmental and social considerations, pre- and post-peak production, at local and national scales. An examination of how the social and environmental impacts change, over the life of a resources extraction, is used to inform strategies for the role of technological and policy innovation in underpinning long-term national benei t from minerals in Australia.
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