May 18th, 11:15am – 12:50pm CET (parallel session)

Multi-criteria analysis of extractive waste (re)mining processes

Mining extractive waste can be a viable opportunity as an alternative source of (secondary) raw materials. It has been estimated that around 550-750 Mt of extractive waste is generated yearly in the European Union. While most of the extractive waste is today kept in embankments, presenting a risk of failure that may result in negative environmental impacts, it also contains tonnes of valuable metals and minerals that could be recovered. Therefore, the valorisation of extractive waste can reduce the environmental risk of long-term storage and create new economic opportunities. In this framework, many efforts have been made in the last years by several players in the extractive industries, to develop technologies allowing to valorise extractive waste. Lessons learned from the past have shown the potential negative effects on the environment and human health related to managing extractive waste. Consequently, together with proper technological development, the preliminary assessment of the sustainability of the whole valorisation process is paramount.

The sustainability analysis in the case of (re)mining of extractive waste is one of the most complex types of appraisal methodologies, entailing several multidisciplinary aspects (environmental, economic, social). Consequently, concepts such as “multidisciplinary assessment” or “integrated framework” are becoming key, to help the decision-making process in defining sustainability-oriented policies for the valorisation of extractive waste as secondary raw materials. Practical examples and case studies are then fundamental to get experience and build solid knowledge, to develop consistent analytical tools.

Building on this need, the workshop offers an overview of the state of the art of sustainability assessment for extractive waste valorisation. Three case studies will be presented:

  • Andrea Di Maria (KU Leuven): Methodology development and results of Multi-Criteria Assessment in NEMO
  • Stephanie Muller (BRGM): “Coupling different tools and methods towards comprehensive sustainability assessment- Examples and perspectives from the mining sector”
  • Sue Harrison (to be defined)

A lively debate about the methodological challenges and solutions will follow the presentations.

More info: