27th International Mining Congress and Exhibition of Turkey, IMCET 2022, Antalya, Turkey, 22 - 25 March 2022, pp.335-346
© IMCET 2022. All rights reserved.With the rise of technology and the growth of population, copper consumption increases globally. However, high-grade near-surface deposits have been depleted in past years or will be depleted in the near future. Deep low-grade ore remains, creating higher environmental impacts like the greater volume of waste, higher energy consumption, and land degradation. Although the environmental impacts of copper mines have been quantified in several studies, a comprehensive environmental impact assessment (EIA) related to open-pit copper mines at the global level is missing in current literature. This study focuses on published papers from 2010 to 2021, investigating the footprint of copper mining on the environment. Most studies used quantitative approaches to assess the environmental impacts of copper mines (41% of total), among which life cycle assessment (LCA) has the highest application of 75%. The results show that the available models have shortcomings, such as excessive assumptions in LCA and expert-depended results in MCDMs. This finding indicates the need to improve the existing models and create a comprehensive EIA technique applicable in all open-pit copper mines to decrease the copper production's environmental impacts per kg and achieve a cleaner environment.