Article

Integrated life cycle management of aggregates quarrying, processing and recycling: Definition of a common LCA methodology in the SARMa project

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Abstract

Most of the environmental knowledge, presently used to understand or design sustainable industrial systems, is derived from an application of life cycle assessment (LCA). The mining/quarrying industry is probably one of the sectors where there has been relatively less use of LCA tools, or where LCA has received less consensus. A key issue is the integration between three interdependent life cycles: project, asset and product life cycles. Given the unique features of mining LCAs, this paper presents a common methodology implemented within the EU sustainable aggregates resource management project in order to boost adoption of LCA in the aggregate industry in South Eastern Europe.

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... However, such analyses are always based on the extraction technique used in the case study, without analysing other options and their potential environmental implications. Blengini and Garbarino (2011) and Blengini et al. (2012) defined a common LCA methodology for the European aggregates sector, including quarrying, processing and recycling processes, while Korre and Durucan (2009) gave a clear definition of the LCA stages in the aggregate extraction process. Within this field, it is worth highlighting the specific contributions made by Jeswiet et al. (2015) and Erkayaoglu and Demirel (2016), detailing the impacts generated by the mining equipment in the mineral extraction process. ...
... This method has been used in other LCA studies related to the mining sector (Bovea et al., 2007;Korre and Durucan, 2009;Ferreira and Leite, 2015). As stated by Blengini and Garbarino (2011), the selection of indicators must be based on the industry, public administrators or stakeholder interests and data availability. Therefore, in this research, global warming (GW) is used as the main indicator, while also considering other emissions that influence the endpoint categories of human health (HH), ecosystem quality (EQ) and climate change (CC). ...
... kg/t. This emission level is of the same order of magnitude as other mining case studies (Norgate and Haque, 2010;Memary et al., 2012), although the rate for quarrying is considerably lower than for the extraction of metallic minerals (Blengini and Garbarino, 2011;Kittipongvises, 2017), mainly because it requires lower crushing, grinding and concentration intensities, with only pre-screening, primary crushing and mobile sieving units used in the case study. Quarries focused on the extraction of other minerals, such as gypsum, also give values similar to the blasting scenario (Pantini et al., 2019). ...
Article
The production of mineral resources from quarrying is vital and irreplaceable for providing raw materials for a wide range of economic sectors. Additionally, today's society demands a supply of mineral resources that is as sustainable as possible. This paper presents a comprehensive LCA study comparing two commonly used techniques to extract mineral resources for quarrying, using the cradle-to-gate approach. The global warming potential (GWP) is used as the main indicator, although all the other potential emissions from the extraction process are also calculated. The results obtained reveal that blasting techniques have a lower impact on global warming (−28%) and generate less fuel metal emissions (−75%) than mechanical extraction. However, the emissions of PM2.5, PM10 and TSP are 2–3 times higher. Hence, the most optimal type of quarrying, regarding the environmental constraints, depends on the impacts in each specific case. In all of the scenarios analysed, the ore loading and handling stage is one of the main GWP contributors, while the contributions of the extraction system (e.g., mechanical or drill and blast) and mineral processing vary depending on the extraction technique used and the product analysed (e.g., aggregates or natural stone). The suggested approach can be used as a powerful tool to assess each case and determine the best choice regarding the environmental impacts of the mineral extraction process, as well as to reduce its emissions.
... The number increased to 35 results when 'quarry' is exchanged with 'mining'. Out of the returned results, seven were related to crushed rock aggregates, and therefore deemed relevant to the current study [1,2,14,[21][22][23][24]. Further sources were identified through citations in the above papers and through recommendations from researchers at the Chalmers Rock Processing Systems (CRPS) research group [3,[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32], resulting in 16 in total. ...
... Turning to the systemic challenges identified, the first challenge was associated with the high variability between sites, which makes it almost impossible to gain worthwhile results for environmental management from secondary data alone [2,14,21]. As it is unlikely that production will become more standardized in the future due to the geological and logistical variations of operations, specific guidelines and tools for the industry were developed to aid the uptake of LCA within the industry at the end of the 2000 s [3,26]. ...
... This leads to another identified systemic problem where goals of LCA studies conducted by producers are generally not set for system improvements through, for example, environmental hotspot identification or identifying the environmental benefits of increasing the amount of recycled input material [1,21,23,24]. Although the lack of utilization of LCA for environmental performance improvements can impact the value that can be gained from conducting an LCA by a producer, it is not seen as a risk to implementation or the quantitative results, but could significantly impact improvement results in the long run. ...
Article
Full-text available
To improve environmental performance of a product or activity, an understanding of the environmental impacts associated with it is needed. Quantification of environmental impacts can be achieved through the standardized measurement-based tool of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). However, challenges occur when trying to apply a standardized tool to a nonstandardized industry such as the aggregate industry. This study aims to provide greater understanding of the challenges facing the aggregate industry, particularly producers, in applying LCA. This was conducted through a literature review, to establish the current understanding of challenges, accompanied by a case study where a site-specific LCA was conducted with a large enterprise at a crushed-rock-production facility in western Sweden, to gain new industry-specific insight. A total of 13 challenges were identified: seven methodological and six systemic. Out of these 13 challenges, 3 were deemed a high risk to the implementation of LCA by aggregate producers, and 3 to the integrity of results. A best-practice framework is suggested to incorporate LCA into current environmental management techniques utilized at quarry sites in Sweden to overcome some challenges. However, LCA used for environmental management should not lead to double work if LCA is being utilized for Environmental Product Declarations, and further research is encouraged to find appropriate solutions with the most efficient allocation of the resources needed in conducting LCA studies.
... produced from materials previously used in construction), secondary aggregates (i.e. arising from industrial processes), excavated rock and soils, and natural aggregates for the construction industry are not therefore in competition, but, rather, their joint utilisation is strategic (Blengini and Garbarino, 2011). A key issue is the correct evaluation of what can be the effective contribution, in qualitative and quantitative terms, that recycled/secondary aggregates can supply in order to satisfy the requirement for building aggregates according to the specific end-uses (Kou et al., 2012;Lima et al., 2013;Marie and Quiasrawi, 2012;Richardson et al., 2011). ...
... In fact, the nature-oriented definition is not sufficient to clearly identify a given waste stream as C&DW. The recommended theoretical approach to define C&DW is to take into account both its nature (materials used in buildings) and the activities that originate it (construction and demolition activities), regardless of who performs these activities (Blengini and Garbarino, 2011). ...
Article
Sustainability and integration are becoming keywords in many European Union policies, including ones that are directly or indirectly related to mineral resources and waste management. Moreover, life cycle thinking (LCT) is core to many of these policies. The European Commission has issued the Communications “A resource efficient Europe” and “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”, the stated goal of which is to reconsider the whole life cycle of resource use so as to make the European Union a “circular economy”, one based on recycling and the use of waste as a resource. Construction and Demolition Waste (C&DW) is a possible source of unconventional aggregates, which are recognised as essential and valuable resources for the economic and social development of modern societies. The objective of this paper is to give an overview on some key issues relevant to the integration between mineral resources and C&DW management, in urban areas, towards a more resource-efficient Europe. The paper starts from a definition of Sustainable Supply Mix (SSM) of aggregates, i.e. a selected blend of natural aggregates, quarry by-products and recycled waste that minimises total negative impacts and maximises overall benefits to society. Then it turns on available technologies for C&DW recycling and technical quality requirement of recycled aggregates. Finally, it focuses on assessment tools and metrics that are currently used to understand and enhance eco-efficiency. © 2017, Gh. Asachi Technical University of Iasi. All rights reserved.
... Since the last decade, there is an emerging trend of applying LCIA to the mineral production sector (e.g. Al, Cu, Steel, etc.) and the mining sector, to analyse the corresponding environmental burdens (Awuah-Offei and Adekpedjou, 2011;Bigum et al., 2012;Blengini and Garbarino, 2011;Blengini et al., 2012;Haque and Norgate, 2013;Norgate and Jahanshahi, 2011;Northey et al., 2013). However, due to the modest scale of the global REE industry, with very few operating mines (like Mount Weld) outside China (which contributed to more than 95% of the global REO supply during the past decade; USGS, various), the emphasis of most REE-related LCIA studies is on the downstream REE, that is, the product consumption and recycling stages, while the production stage of REE (i.e. ...
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... To support this argument, the concept of technology leverage is introduced, and it is noted that the same input resource can be converted into different output values depending upon the technology employed in the conversion process and the state of technical innovation at the time the conversion occurs. Blengini and Garbarino (2011) presented a common methodology implemented within the EU sustainable aggregates resource management project in order to boost adoption of LCA in the aggregate industry in South Eastern Europe. Comparative assessment of different artificial recharge practices is reported in Majumdar et al. (2009) in mountainous catchments. ...
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For sustainable water management in water scarce areas available quantity of water is consumptively used and saved water is conjunctively supplied in addition to insufficient quantity available in water deficit months. Such storages are generated season wise and selecting suitable technique of aquifer storage as against preservation in a surface water body is a vital issue. Conjunctive planning require survival of both surface and subsurface water, however sustainability of an individual storage levy risk on the augmentation of the other. In the present paper, such analyses are discussed for a cultural command of 11.51 sq km in Ozar irrigation command under the Waghad Right Bank canal in Nasik District of Maharashtra.
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The evaluation of uncertainty is relatively new in environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA). It provides useful information to assess the reliability of LCA-based decisions and to guide future research toward reducing uncertainty. Most uncertainty studies in LCA quantify only one type of uncertainty, i.e., uncertainty due to input data (parameter uncertainty). However, LCA outcomes can also be uncertain due to normative choices (scenario uncertainty) and the mathematical models involved (model uncertainty). The present paper outlines a new methodology that quantifies parameter, scenario, and model uncertainty simultaneously in environmental life-cycle assessment. The procedure is illustrated in a case study that compares two insulation options for a Dutch one-family dwelling. Parameter uncertainty was quantified by means of Monte Carlo simulation. Scenario and model uncertainty were quantified by resampling different decision scenarios and model formulations, respectively. Although scenario and model uncertainty were not quantified comprehensively, the results indicate that both types of uncertainty influence the case study outcomes. This stresses the importance of quantifying parameter, scenario, and model uncertainty simultaneously. The two insulation options studied were found to have significantly different impact scores for global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, and eutrophication. The thickest insulation option has the lowest impact on global warming and eutrophication, and the highest impact on stratospheric ozone depletion.
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