Environmental Stewardship in Mining & Minerals Beneficiation
Practical Training in Sustainable Development
Project title Sustainability performance analysis and decision-making for minerals beneficiation: a South African iron and steel case study
(Duration: Feb 2014 to Dec 2015)
It is widely accepted that downstream mineral resource beneficiation has the potential to promote socio-economic growth in resource-rich nations. Many African countries, including South Africa, are thus prioritizing mineral beneficiation in their national policies and development strategies. Many minerals are currently exported without beneficiation foregoing the potential benefits. At the same time, however, minerals beneficiation can carry an additional burden on the environment. When presented with different beneficiation alternatives for a particular commodity, decision makers ideally need to base decisions on a systematic analysis of positive and negative impacts, if the sustainability benefits are to be maximised. This study aims to develop a procedural framework to support the evaluation and selection of mineral beneficiation options according to their sustainability performance. The framework will take into consideration a number of key factors, namely the decision context, data quality, flowsheet generation, evaluation criteria relating to technical, environmental, economic and socio-political aspects, as well as tools for both performance assessment and multi-criteria decision analysis.
The application of this framework will be demonstrated for the particular case of the iron and steel industry in South Africa. Iron and steel is of interest as there are various feedstocks required for the process which encompass a number of strategic commodities (iron, chromium, manganese, vanadium and steel), a range of potential process routes (including the blast furnace and electric arc furnace) and various beneficiation opportunities to provide inputs into various sectors including construction, packaging and automotive manufacturing. Furthermore, the iron and steel value chain presents strong opportunities for recycling at the end of products’ service lives.
Chitaka, T., Broadhurst, J.L., Cohen, B. and Franzidis, J.-P. 2014. Sustainability performance analysis and decision-making for minerals beneficiation: a South African iron and steel case study. Poster presented at the at the 32nd annual SAIMM Mineral Processing Conference, 7-8 August, Cape Town.