Title: Social impact assessment in the mining sector: review and comparison of indicators frameworks
Citation: RESOURCES POLICY vol. 57 p. 98-111
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC104248
ISSN: 0301-4207
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301420717301484
DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2018.02.002
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Mining provides inputs for other industrial sectors that are vital for sustaining population wellbeing and the functioning of global economies. At the same time, it can generate social and environmental impacts, which could compromise public acceptance of the sector. Given this twofold role in human society, the improvement of the sustainability performance is a very important objective both for industry and for the European policy, willing to boost a sustainable supply of raw materials. In various contexts, social impacts of mining are assessed with different sets of indicators and targets. In this study we perform a review of the literature in the topic, identify a list of typical social impacts occurring in the sector and explore their geographical distribution. This list is set against the indicators used for assessing and promoting sustainability in different contexts and at different scales: (i) the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) (ii) the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (iii) the EU policy making, through the analysis of the Better Regulation policy and three impact assessment reports (iv) the databases used in Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA). Land use-related impacts, environmental impacts affecting health and human rights appear to be the most concerning social aspects in the mining sector. Effects on income and employment are instead the main positive impacts identified in the screened literature. The paper compares the different indicator sets used in the above-mentioned frameworks with the list of impacts emerged from the literature review. While working conditions and human rights are well-covered aspects, main gaps concern demographic changes and migration due to the presence of mining and land use-related impacts. An additional challenge for the sustainability assessment is the evaluation of the contribution of the sector to society, beyond the mere value added, and in general the assessment of positive impacts.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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