Resource accessibility for humans in the future is a complex concept and therefore needs to be adequately understood and reflected. The general equations for characterisation Life Cycle Impact Assessment models developed by SUPRIM represent a new state-of-art and are the most reliable of their kind thanks to the unique mix of expertise existing within the project consortium.
The results turn out to be consistent with previous agreement across disciplines (geologists, mining experts, and environmental scientists) that dissipative outflows from studied systems-rather than inflows to them-are the concern to address in order to maximise continued accessibility of raw-materials (Drielsma et al. (2016)). The equations give recognition to the fact that resources are not always consumed or dissipated, but often remain available as an anthropogenic source for secondary production (recycling). Temporary use or hibernation of resources within the economy can be an issue for accessibility - mostly in the short term, not in the long term.
The proposed SUPRIM method also responds to the European Commission's call to develop a life-cycle based impact assessment method for resource use based on dissipation concepts for use in its Product Environment Footprint and Organisation Environment Footprint methodologies. The project has resulted in preparation of five separate publications for inclusion in peer-reviewed scientific journals, which can be referenced in future for this purpose.
Regarding the collection of data from mining operations, SUPRIM can provide insights for academics and the EIT Raw Materials into how to approach mining companies and mining sites (local management), e.g., which social, cultural and other soft skills are needed to be effective; and how to deal with likely challenges and roadblocks.
Primary raw materials producers would welcome a cost-efficient solution to retrieve environmental data from their activities for environmental assessment of their products through LCA, anticipating a growing interest from downstream users and final users and consumers. SUPRIM has identified that a still missing piece of such a solution, is a viable business case for providing the data necessary to perform LCA (Alvarenga et al. (2019)), but that the SUPRIM method of LCA impact assessment can make better use of the data to inform companies about ways they can improve materials stewardship and reduce their impacts on the long term accessibility of abiotic resources.
EUROMINES - European Association of Mining Industries published this content on 12 October 2019 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 12 October 2019 19:50:04 UTC