Uncharted risk measures for the management of sustainable mining

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschung


  • Beatriz A. Watts
  • Valéria C. Palmeira Zago
  • Lakshmi Gopakumar
  • Karen Ghazaryan
  • Hasmik Movsesyan

Governments commit to ensuring the welfare of their citizens by drafting and enforcing regulations that ultimately ensure the sustainability of mining. This study contributes to improving the sustainability of mining throughout the mine's lifecycle until the final destination of the mining products. We propose recommendations that address the sustainability of mining from a global perspective, framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), following waste hierarchy with Common Agricultural Policies, and policies from the Green Deal on climate, energy, transport, and taxation. Tailings are the most significant source of environmental impact in mining operations and, therefore, must comply with controlling regulations through Tailings Management Facilities (TMFs). However, there have been several mining accidents involving TMFs worldwide. The recommendations begin during planning, preconstruction, and construction with practices such as fair consultations, tax revenue fairness, and mandatory insurance. The operation and management support parallel industries to mining and supporting health and education. Emergency planning involves the surrounding communities in mock drills and environmental monitoring. In the closure and rehabilitation, remediation technologies such as phytoremediation, carbon sequestration incentives, and biomass valorization are recommended. Finally, supporting a circular economy by prioritizing ethical consumption, resource reduction, material recovery, and replacing toxic minerals and materials from the start with “benign by design” is recommended. The strategies involve stakeholders directly or indirectly related to the mining companies' contamination and demonstrate a commitment to the SDGs, offering a holistic perspective on scientific, social, and regulatory issues. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2023;19:949–960.

ZeitschriftIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Seiten (von - bis)949-960
Anzahl der Seiten12
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.07.2023

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
The authors would like to express their gratitude to the advisory members for the project “Assistance in safety improvement of Tailings Management Facilities in Armenia and Georgia” at Ecopeace. The authors would also like to thank Professor Alexander Schall and Professor Bernhard Hohlbein for their inspiring discussions. Additionally, the authors would like to acknowledge the support and contributions of Community and Academic Actions for Sustainable Development NGO, Hamburg, Germany. Their expertise and commitment to sustainable development have been invaluable in the development of this research project. There are no funders to report for this submission. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).