21st Century Sustainability Research and Innovation for the Minerals Sector

Organizer: Claire Cote
Format: Onsite-Online, Afternoon

Global, national and local trends in expectations for environmental and social performance of the mining sector: This session will provide an overview of current trends and how they impact on research needs. It will draw from examples of legislative changes and responses to these. Two specific examples will be the new legislation voted in 2018 in Queensland which is providing incentives to improve progressive rehabilitation, and the increased expectation that mining activities do not impact on the receiving environment. For new mining projects, current mandatory risk and impact assessment methods are often performed on one project at a time, sometimes neglecting the cumulative dimension of risks, the great variability of coexistent mining activities, and the socio-ecological vulnerability in which mining is performed.The session will include discussion of an approach to develop and compare, based on the assessment of their risk, different potential scenarios for land-planning strategies in mining territories. The session will also explore social aspects of mine closure, and discuss the consortium that was established to conduct research that challenges the accepted industry norms and practices that are currently being applied in mine closure planning. The consortium is a research collaboration between multiple industry and university partners that will place a greater emphasis on placing people at the centre of mine closure planning. Finally, we will describe the potential to derive value from mining waste using the example of a project on tailings desulfurisation to price a benign cover material and upgrade minerals recovery. It will also presents current plans to develop an industrial transformation training centre for extracting manufactured value from mining waste.

Themes: Sustainable Solutions from the Global South, Integrated Action for the SDGs, Knowledge-to-Action, Sustainability for Who?