A practical and rigorous approach for integrating sustainability principles into decision-making processes at minerals processing operations

Tuazon, D., Corder, G. D., Powell, M. and Ziemski, M. (2012). A practical and rigorous approach for integrating sustainability principles into decision-making processes at minerals processing operations. In: David R. Mulligan, Life-of-Mine 2012: Conference Proceedings. Life of Mine Conference (AusIMM), Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (233-241). 10 - 12 July 2012.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Tuazon, D.
Corder, G. D.
Powell, M.
Ziemski, M.
Title of paper A practical and rigorous approach for integrating sustainability principles into decision-making processes at minerals processing operations
Conference name Life of Mine Conference (AusIMM)
Conference location Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 10 - 12 July 2012
Proceedings title Life-of-Mine 2012: Conference Proceedings
Place of Publication Carlton North, VIC, Australia
Publisher The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM)
Publication Year 2012
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9781921522666
Editor David R. Mulligan
Start page 233
End page 241
Total pages 9
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Although mining companies have made broad corporate-level commitments to adopt sustainability, there continue to
be problems when attempts are made to adopt higher-level sustainability aspirations and translate them into
appropriate targets and methods at the more-specific operational level. The integration of sustainability principles into
minerals processing operational decision-making processes has unique challenges that are not addressed
adequately by current tools and methodologies, yet impacts from operational decisions can have longer-term effects
realised at closure and rehabilitation.

This paper describes a proposed methodology to achieve the integration of sustainability at the operational level
through a systematic and rigorous process of identifying and qualifying sustainability issues and opportunities in an
operation. The methodology, starting from a sustainability point of view rather than an operational one, guides the
identification of process issues and opportunities by examining the operation, unit-by-unit, similar to a Hazard and
Operability (HAZOP) process. Each issue or opportunity is qualified according to its measurability, scopes of impact
and consequences so that it may be understood fully and the correct engineering problems are formed. Through
improved decision-making to account for broader sustainability factors, operations can better address environmental
and social expectations and pressures (both corporate and community, as well as immediate and in the longer-term),
whilst still delivering on operational and business goals.

The methodology has been tested with two case studies at minerals processing operations. At one site, the
methodology identified a dust issue which had considerable business risks (loss of valuable product) compared to
conventional engineering analysis processes. The other site also benefited from using the methodology as an
opportunity to improve the operation of the milling and flotation circuits was identified. The opportunity not only
showed a potential to improve operational efficiency, but also potential improvements in water and energy efficiency
and a resulting increased resilience against water and energy supply risks. It was important to utilise the holistic
approach of the methodology in the identification of opportunities at this site; the goals of the operation showed a
strong coupling between water and energy issues which would be difficult to overcome using the operation’s current
organisational model, which deals with such issues separately of each other
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Conference theme 'Maximising Rehabilitation Outcomes'

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Created: Mon, 13 Aug 2012, 09:46:14 EST by Karen Holtham on behalf of Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre