Designing for sustainable development. Made easy.
|Title||Risk reduction through early assessment and integration of sustainability in design in the minerals industry|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||In Press|
|Authors||McLellan, BC, Corder, GD|
|Journal||Journal of Cleaner Production|
|Keywords||design, mining, risk, sustainability, sustainable development|
Early integration of sustainability considerations into the design of industrial operations offers great potential for the reduction of risks associated with a project. Recent experience in the development of a practical methodology for undertaking such “design for sustainability” has illustrated this point clearly. This paper examines the generic and specific risk reduction potential of applying a sustainability-based design process. This is illustrated through the analysis of two case studies. The case studies involved base metals extraction and processing and were located in low-mid development countries. By utilizing an overarching sustainability model, it was possible to elicit risks that could affect the sustainability performance of the resulting minerals operation and consequently identify potential initiatives or strategies that could mitigate these risks. As both case study projects are at the early stages of project development, the risk mitigation initiatives or strategies can be developed in concert with the normal project development activities. As the opportunities for reducing sustainability-associated risks are closely related to the project phase, the earlier (e.g. concept or pre-feasibility) such a methodology is applied in the life of a project the better. Progressing down the project life cycle (e.g. basic or detailed design), elements of flexibility are lost, and therefore the potential to derive greater sustainability benefits and minimize risk at least cost is diminished. Risk reduction through early assessment and integration of sustainability in design makes a significant contribution to the social license to operate the resulting operation.