How can process simulation be used to get more reliable data for LCA of mining emerging technologies? - BRGM - Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2019

How can process simulation be used to get more reliable data for LCA of mining emerging technologies?


In the context of the Raw material initiative launched by the European Commission in 2008, the European funded project IMP@CT aims at unlocking the access to small complex mineral deposits existing in Europe. To unlock this access, the project’s goal is to develop modularized mobile plants (MMP) that can economically operate different type of ores in different types of geological and geographical contexts. More specifically, the project aims at deploying a pilot MMP that contains new technology methods related to mining, mineral beneficiation and waste and water management. The environmental impacts of the developed new technologies is assessed through Life cycle assessment (LCA), notably the potential benefits against business as usual (BAU) solutions. Two challenges arise in this environmental assessment: 1/ the upscaling effect: how can we compare pilot technologies to BAU ones? 2/ contextual assessment of IMP@CT technologies: how can we provide conclusions depending on the geological and geographical contexts? The first challenge is met using mineral process simulation, which is used to predict plant performances based on experimental data. The simulator is built on experimental data using USIM PACTM and consists in a complete flowsheet design along with a material model definition and several unit operations models adjusted on experimental mass balance. Outputs of the simulator consist, for each unit process of the plant, in flow rates (solids and liquids), consumption of energy and reagents for example. The second challenge of adaptability is met by creating an Excel tool that links the results of the process simulation with additional models, based on expert’s judgments and literature data, to complete the whole foreground modelling and with information on the goal and scope that are based on the geological and geographical contexts. This tool’s outputs are the foreground modelling of one ton of operated ore using IMP@CT developed technologies. This modeling is translated into ecoinvent 3.4 to be imported and assessed through Simapro 8.5 software. To use mineral processing alongside LCA allows the environmental assessment of emerging technologies to be built on more reliable data notably when upscaling effects arise. The building of the specific tool gives the adaptability to assess different kind of scenarios. At the end, results obtained can be used by decision makers for both eco-design approaches and benchmark assessments.
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Dates and versions

hal-02155696 , version 1 (13-06-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02155696 , version 1


Stephanie Muller, Jérôme Bodin, Juliana Segura Salazar, Jacques Villeneuve. How can process simulation be used to get more reliable data for LCA of mining emerging technologies?. SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting, May 2019, Helsinki, Finland. ⟨hal-02155696⟩


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