Life Cycle Assessment in Mining
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool for the systematic evaluation of the environmental aspects of a product or service system through all stages of its life cycle. The goal of LCA is to compare the environmental performance of products in order to be able to choose the least burdensome. Therefore, LCA provides an adequate instrument for environmental decision support to the companies producing the products. There is an increasing trend in the application of LCA for engineering evaluation of systems and products. Although the LCA technique has been used to assess environmental impacts associated with various production processes of the mining industry since the end of the last century, its use in the evaluation in mining processes and processing of mineral resources is still limited. There are few studies on the application of LCA to specific mining systems. Among these, those related to coal production in the USA and South Africa stands out.