Effective integrated frameworks for assessing mining sustainability

K. M. Virgone, M. Ramirez-Andreotta, J. Mainhagu, M. L. Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The objectives of this research are to review existing methods used for assessing mining sustainability, analyze the limited prior research that has evaluated the methods, and identify key characteristics that would constitute an enhanced sustainability framework that would serve to improve sustainability reporting in the mining industry. Five of the most relevant frameworks were selected for comparison in this analysis, and the results show that there are many commonalities among the five, as well as some disparities. In addition, relevant components are missing from all five. An enhanced evaluation system and framework were created to provide a more holistic, comprehensive method for sustainability assessment and reporting. The proposed framework has five components that build from and encompass the twelve evaluation characteristics used in the analysis. The components include Foundation, Focus, Breadth, Quality Assurance, and Relevance. The enhanced framework promotes a comprehensive, location-specific reporting approach with a concise set of well-defined indicators. Built into the framework is quality assurance, as well as a defined method to use information from sustainability reports to inform decisions. The framework incorporates human health and socioeconomic aspects via initiatives such as community-engaged research, economic valuations, and community-initiated environmental monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2635-2655
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Environmental impact
  • Indicators
  • Mining
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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