Mineral resources in life cycle impact assessment—defining the path forward

Originally, Life Cycle Assessment used estimates of total crustal content to calculate how many years’ worth of natural resource existed. Later, practitioners began limiting existing stocks to those identified by the United States Geological Survey in its annual Commodity Summaries. (See, for example the EU's Product Environmental Footprint resources). Because of the nature of the equations used, LCA results are highly sensitive to these differences in assumed total stock of abiotic resources. There is increasing international consensus that this aspect of Life Cycle Impact Assessment is truly broken and in need of an entire re-think.

More recently, several researchers have suggested that metal production has peaked, that resources will be depleted within decades and that declining ore grades can be used to forecast a time when mining will no longer be viable. This has underlined a lack of cross-disciplinary understanding of Mineral Economics.

In a new peer-reviewed publication, "Mineral resources in life cycle impact assessment—defining the path forward", we have come forward with probably the first globally coordinated mining industry contribution to the last twenty years of research into resource assessment in Life Cycle Thinking.

In the paper (which is freely available for download), exploration, geology, and economic experts from the global mining industry provide recommendations to ensure that future research into mineral resource assessment has a sound basis and that practitioners can utilize more appropriate tools for their work.

The paper's findings were recently debated at an International Workshop co-hosted by the Natural History Museum London (follow link for access to all presentations).

Mineral Policy in Poland

To improve national mineral policies or to develop new ones, especially in newer EU members like Poland (Assumptions for the Action Plan in the field of security of Polish non-energy raw materials has been approved by the Ministry of Economy in March 2015 )  the best practice guidance developed by a Commission/Member States expert group including interdisciplinary knowledge on economic, environmental, social and legal aspects can help the valuation of existing and potential mineral resources in EU. 

Main challenges and drivers for industry in exploration and extraction in practice: The industry perspective

The presentation of Thomas Drnek (representing Euromines and RHI AG) at "MIN-GUIDE Policy Laboratory 2" in Leoben, Austria,21 - 22 March 2017.

MIN-GUIDE is a Horizon 2020 project that aims to establish a coherent and innovation friendly minerals policy framework in Europe by developing a Minerals Policy Guide and engaging diverse stakeholders in the mineral sector and related areas.

 

Implementing the EIP on Raw Materials in selected EU Member States

A new publication “Implementing the EIP on Raw Materials in selected EU Member States” prepared by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in close cooperation with other partners, namely Euromines, IndustriAll, EURACOAL and the European Commission has just been published. The publication summarizes the work done in 2015 when the European Economic and Social Committee’s Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) decided to hold four round tables – in Spain, Slovakia, Romania and Finland.

The aim of our round-tables is to also fulfil the mandate set by the European Commission for consultation and participation of civil society and social partners on the implementation of these initiatives.

Topics addressed in the round-table discussions included:

  • Production, trade and consumption of energy and non-energy raw materials;
  • Political, legal, administrative and societal challenges related with the secure access to raw materials from EU sources
  • Secondary raw materials and aspects related to the concept of “circular economy”;
  • Health and Safety issues.

The objective of the round-table debates was to link the Member States’ economic and industrial policy along the value chain from raw materials to end-products and to develop strategies and overcome obstacles to maintain a well-functioning European industrial fabric by improving investment conditions and creating new jobs.

The activities carried out in partnership in 2015 were greatly appreciated by the representatives of the two sides of industry and government institutions, which is why in the coming period, we will look into the possibility of holding similar events in other EU countries.

We hope you will find this publication interesting and useful.

IFC PF6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resource

IFC’s Sustainability Framework articulates the Corporation’s strategic commitment to sustainable development,  and  is an integral part of  IFC’s  approach to risk management.  The Sustainability Framework comprises  IFC’s  Policy and Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability,  and IFC’s  Access to Information Policy.  The Policy on Environmental and Social Sustainability describes IFC’s commitments, roles, and responsibilities related to environmental and social sustainability. IFC’s Access to Information Policy reflects IFC’s commitment to transparency and good governance  on  its operations,  and outlines the Corporation’s institutional disclosure obligations regarding its investment and advisory services. The Performance Standards are directed towards clients, providing guidance on how to identify risks and impacts, and are designed to help avoid, mitigate, and manage risks and impacts as a way of doing business in a sustainable way, including stakeholder engagement and disclosure obligations of the client in relation to project-level activities. In the case of its direct investments (including project and corporate finance provided through financial intermediaries),  IFC  requires  its  clients to apply the Performance Standards to manage environmental and social  risks and impacts  so that development opportunities  are enhanced. IFC uses the Sustainability Framework along with other strategies, policies, and initiatives to direct the business activities of the Corporation in order to achieve its overall development objectives. The Performance Standards may also be applied by other financial institutions. 

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