Technology futures discussion paper: Technology assessment and the CSIRO minerals down under national research flagship

Franks, Daniel, Cohen, Tamar, McLellan, Ben and Brereton, David (2010) Technology futures discussion paper: Technology assessment and the CSIRO minerals down under national research flagship Brisbane, Australia: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland


Author Franks, Daniel
Cohen, Tamar
McLellan, Ben
Brereton, David
Title of report Technology futures discussion paper: Technology assessment and the CSIRO minerals down under national research flagship
Parent publication CSIRO Minerals Down Under National Research Flagship
Publication date 2010-07
ISBN 9780958171014
Publisher Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland
Place of publication Brisbane, Australia
Total pages 39
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subjects 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards
8498 Environmentally Sustainable Mineral Resource Activities
8402 Primary Mining and Extraction Processes of Mineral Resources
160403 Social and Cultural Geography
160511 Research, Science and Technology Policy
160605 Environmental Politics
Formatted abstract The CSIRO Minerals Down Under National Research Flagship aims to unlock Australia’s future mineral wealth through transformational exploration, extraction and processing technologies. In this paper we outline the potential of Technology Assessment (TA) to improve the technologies under development within the flagship.

Section 1 outlines the rationale of the Technology Futures project which is a component of a broader multi institutional research collaboration called the Minerals Futures Cluster Collaboration, between The University of Queensland, The University of Technology, Sydney, Curtin University of Technology, Central Queensland University and The Australian National University.

Section 2 examines the drivers of technological innovation in the minerals industry, discusses the relationship between technology and society and outlines the technologies under development in the Flagship. The Australian minerals industry faces a number of countervailing future uncertainties around declining resource quantity and grade, an increased demand for minerals, increased production costs and global competition, and more complex ores. Over and above these uncertainties concepts of sustainability have reshaped societal expectations and are placing further constraints on the resources necessary for mineral development such as water, energy and land.Technology innovation will play an important role in meeting these challenges, however, even when technologies are designed with sustainability considerations in mind, such innovations are not always embraced by society.

In Section 3 we explore the reasons why technologies may not find a receptive public, profile a series of case studies and draw lessons for future innovations. The concept of ‘social license to operate’ is introduced in section 4.

Section 4. Social license refers to an intangible and unwritten, tacit, contract with a society, or a social group, enabling a mining operation to enter a community, start, and continue operations. Further we examine the relationship between the state of social license and stakeholder behaviour and introduce the concept of embedded conflict to describe how technology design traits may lead to the absence of social license. We then explore the process of ‘Social License by Design’, which describes a design process that attempts to reduce social hazards or minimise potential social risk by involving designers and decision makers in considering the operational context of the designed product beyond the user or proponent.

In Section 5 we consider how technology assessment can address embedded conflict during the design phase of technology development. We do this by reviewing TA approaches and canvassing the challenges, constraints and opportunities of undertaking TA within innovation institutions.
Keyword Science and policy
Mining - environmental management
social acceptability
Q-Index Code KX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Research Report
Collection: Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 17 Dec 2010, 10:16:35 EST by Dr Daniel Franks on behalf of Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining