An open source article by Kyle Moreau. A life-cycle assessment (LCA) model was developed to comparatively analyze the use of manual and automated mining equipment in underground copper mine sites. Processes and key variables that were determined to contribute to the environmental impact of operations were identified for six mine sites in a range of geographical locations around the world. Our model successfully calculated carbon dioxide (CO2 eq.) emissions to within 4.9% of the reported annual emissions from the site’s respective companies. The implementation of automation was found to decrease global warming potential by a range of 11.4%–18.0% or 3.9–17.9 kg CO2 eq./t ore. The model was also used to estimate the average reductions across several impact potentials including, acidification (11.9%–17.8%), eutrophication (7.6%–13.7%), and human toxicity (16.0%–20.0%). World-wide the mining industry is moving toward introducing significantly more automation to enhance productivity and safety. This novel work demonstrates an important third dimension that can support this move, reduced environmental impact.


Last Updated: 26/02/2022 09:50:47am