David Robertson

David's CV
David's Students
David's Publications
Technical Programme
Short Course
Social Programme
First Announcement (PDF)
Pictures and stories
Other Conferences
Contact Details

David Robertson Smelting Symposium

'Celebrating the Mega-scale'

In conjunction with the TMS 2014 Annual Meeting

San Diego, California, USA, 16-20 February 2014

Short Course

John Rankin

Course title: Sustainability and Mineral Resources

Presenter: Dr W John Rankin (Consultant, Melbourne, Australia)

Minerals and rocks derived from the Earth provide many of the materials needed by society, yet their production and consumption produces large quantities of wastes. Furthermore, the Earth’s resources are finite and its ecosystems have finite capacities to cope with the wastes produced by human production and consumption. The local and global challenges caused by the unprecedented levels of production, and the associated consumption of resources and disposal of wastes, will grow as living standards in China, India, Brazil and other countries continue to rise. The concept of Sustainable Development arose in response to these and other environmental and social issues. The non-renewable nature of mineral resources poses unique challenges for sustainability.

The course will examine the development of the concept of sustainability, particularly its environmental aspects, and how the minerals industry is responding to the challenges posed by sustainability. The types and quantities of wastes produced during the mining and processing of minerals will be examined and the modern approaches for managing these wastes will be reviewed. Mining and processing are energy intensive and the usage of energy in the industry will be examined. Strategies for reducing, and ultimately, eliminating wastes produced during mining and processing will be examined and examples of recent developments will be discussed. Finally, how the industry can capture the opportunities presented as well as contributing positively to the transition to sustainability will be discussed.

Who should attend:
The course is aimed at:

· Mining and processing professionals who want a deeper understanding of the concept of sustainability and its implications for finite resources
· Professionals in mining and/or environment–related service industries and government agencies
· Researchers and students with an interest in the field of sustainability and the resource industry

Participants will gain a greater appreciation of the nature of sustainability, its implications for the minerals industry and the opportunities and challenges for the industry during the transition to sustainability.

Course Outline:

1. An introduction to the concept of sustainability
- the environmental, social and historical context
- definitions of sustainability; weak and strong sustainability; sustainability frameworks
- a conceptual model of sustainability

2. The mineral industry’s response to sustainability
- the Global Mining Initiative and formation of the ICMM
- sustainability reporting; the Global Reporting Initiative

3. Mining and processing wastes
- wastes and the materials cycle
- types and impacts of wastes; direct and indirect wastes
- solid, liquid and gaseous wastes – strategies and technologies for storage and disposal

4. Use of energy in primary production
- concepts of direct and indirect energy, gross energy requirement, embodied energy
- values of embodied energy in production of mineral and metal commodities
- the minerals industry and global warming
- implications of declining ore grade and quality on energy consumption

5. Towards zero waste in primary production
- the concept of waste; the waste hierarchy
- the historical approach to wastes
- the Cleaner Production approach
- wastes as raw materials; examples include red mud, fly ash, flotation tailings
- waste reduction through re-engineering, including examples
- principles of industrial ecology, including examples
- barriers and drivers to waste reduction/elimination

6. Towards sustainability
- the concept of stewardship
- an integrated stewardship model

John Rankin – Biography

John Rankin is a metallurgist by background with a BSc and PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia. He has worked mainly in academia and research organisations and has an extensive knowledge of the minerals industry. He has lectured in metallurgy and chemical engineering at the University of Stellenbosh (South Africa) and the University of Waterloo (Canada) and has worked for Mintek in South Africa, Comalco Limited, and CSIRO (Australia's national research organisation). He was Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne for five years and Foundation Director of the G K Williams Cooperative Research Centre for Extractive Metallurgy. Until 2008 he was Chief Scientist of the CSIRO Division of Minerals. He is the author of over 150 papers. John has had an active research interest in sustainability and its implications for non-finite resources for over ten years and has published extensively in this field. He authored the book Minerals, Metals and Sustainability: Meeting future material needs (2011), on which some of the content of this short course is based. He chaired the Green Processing 2002 and 2004 conferences of the AusIMM and recently edited the two-volume publication Australasian Mining and Metallurgical Operating Practices, published by the AusIMM.

John Rankin John Rankin

Copyright © 2013, Rodney Jones, rtjones@global.co.za, Randburg, South Africa (Last updated on 7 August 2013)