The Definition For Sustainability In Mining: mining and mineral development that meets the growing needs of all communities while maintaining a healthy environment and vibrant economy for present and future generations.
The Criteria for Sustainability in Mining: can be applied to mineral exploration and mining projects/operations as follows:
- Health and Safety:The project/operation is acting to ensure the health and safety of workers and the community.
- Effective Engagement: The relationships with those affected by a project/operation are characterized by integrity and trust.
- Respect for Indigenous Peoples:The project/operation respects the rights, culture and values of Indigenous Peoples.
- Environment: Actions are being taken to ensure the maintenance and strengthening of environmental integrity over the long term within the region of influence of the project/operation.
- Full Mine or Operation Life Cycle: A full mine or operation life cycle perspective is being applied for planning and decision making that spans exploration through post-closure.
- Resource-use Efficiency: The project/operation is seeking to minimize resouce inputs—energy, water, reagents, supplies, etc.—while also minimizing contaminant outputs to air, water and land.
- Continuous Learning and Adaptation: The uncertainty inherent in mining operations is recognized, and a commitment to continuous learning is displayed.
- Benefits: The project/operation is enhancing the potential for creating economic, social and cultural benefits for the local community or region.
The importance of sustainable development principles has been increasing within the mining sector over the past two decades. Early work focused mainly on mining metals and commodities other than coal and energy fuels. Because sustainability, however, is an important consideration for all human endeavors now, the coal industry has become active in sustainability efforts. A number of global coal mining companies have embraced sustainability as a key aspect of corporate philosophy.
Continued production of minerals and fossil energy fuels may not fit into commonly understood definitions of sustainability. Mineral and energy extraction and reclamation operations do, however, contribute significantly to sustainability through the benefits they provide to society, when they are conducted in a manner that supports sustainable economies, social structures and environments throughout all phases of mining, including closure.
Significant progress can also be made through the inclusion of sustainability concepts in the original design of the operation, as well as in ongoing operations. Innovative engineering, mining and reclamation operations can be optimized through consideration of environmental and economic sustainability goals, side-by-side with traditional technical mining engineering considerations.
It is widely recognized that coal is and will continue to be a crucial element in a modern, balanced energy portfolio, providing a bridge to the future as an important low cost and secure energy solution to sustainability challenges. In response, the global coal and energy production industries have begun a major effort to identify and accelerate the deployment and further development of innovative, advanced, efficient, cleaner coal technologies. A number of coal producers are also involved in sustainable development activities, including economic support of communities and regions, environmental restoration and social well-being.
The designer of, specially, coal mining operations needs to simultaneously consider legal, environmental and sustainability goals along with traditional mining engineering parameters as an integral part of the design process. The role of coal in the global energy supply mix makes this of primary importance. There is a need for research into the parameters for mining design that allow the building of models for optimization, the relationships between those parameters, and the desired outcomes that the system is being optimized to produce. In addition to quantifying the economic viability of the operation, a number of sustainability goals should be built into the model and the relative importance of those goals determined.
Source: Partha Das Sharma / Engineer Live – International Mining Engineer