A discourse analysis on how the sustainability agenda is defined within the mining industry

Han Onn, A. and Woodley, A. (2014) A discourse analysis on how the sustainability agenda is defined within the mining industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 84 1: 116-127. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.03.086

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Author Han Onn, A.
Woodley, A.
Title A discourse analysis on how the sustainability agenda is defined within the mining industry
Journal name Journal of Cleaner Production   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-6526
Publication date 2014-04-12
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.03.086
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 84
Issue 1
Start page 116
End page 127
Total pages 12
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2105 Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
2300 Environmental Science
1408 Strategy and Management
2209 Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Abstract The mining industry has positioned itself within the sustainability agenda, particularly since the establishment of the International Council of Mining and Minerals (ICMM). However, some critics have questioned this position, since mining requires the extraction of non-renewable finite resources and commercial mining companies have the specific responsibility to produce profit. Complicating matters is that terms that represent the sustainability such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘sustainable development’ have multiple definitions with varying degrees of sophistication. This work identifies eleven sustainability agenda definitions that are applicable to the mining industry and organises them into three tiers: first, Perpetual Sustainability, that focuses on mining continuing indefinitely with its benefits limited to immediate shareholders; second, Transferable Sustainability, that focuses on how mining can benefit society and the environment and third, Transitional Sustainability, that focuses on the intergenerational benefits to society and the environment even after mining ceases. Using these definitions, a discourse analysis was performed on sustainability reports from member companies of the ICMM and the academic journal Resources Policy. The discourse analysis showed that in both media the definition of the sustainability agenda was focussed on Transferable Sustainability, with the sustainability reports focused on how it can be applied within a business context while the academic journal took a broader view of mining's social and environmental impacts.
Keyword Sustainability
Sustainable development
Discourse analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 12 April 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry
Official 2015 Collection
Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 02 Jul 2014, 00:16:02 EST by Wendy Parley on behalf of Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry