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Title: Mining anthropogenic and geological deposits : evaluating the accessibility of scarce metals from End of Life products and the Earth's Crust under sustainability considerations
Author: Mueller, Sandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 7509
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis includes three main chapters with the aim to develop a methodological framework for characterising and evaluating the accessibility of End of Life (EoL) products and the Earth's Crust. Chapter 4 presents a novel characterisation and evaluation of End of Life products by means of 'geological' approaches that are based on mining deposits of the geosphere (MDG). For method development of the characterisation and evaluation, four expert workshops were implemented. The results showed an innovative and systematic characterisation of the 'geological setting' of a deposit. Further, the results demonstrated a pioneering evaluation of the knowledge and certainty (geological knowledge) by means of the UNFC classification. The characterisation and evaluation was applied on three case studies of mining deposits of the anthroposphere (MDA), which provides a basis for Chapter 5 and highlighted the need for further research. Chapter 5 presents the methodological framework that investigates the characterisation and evaluation of both MDA and MDG by investigating the prerequisite for recovery: accessibility. The accessibility evaluation was developed by means of a quantitative linguistic concept extraction. This framework was elucidated and then applied to analyse three anthropogenic and one geological deposits. The results of the linguistic investigation showed that accessibility is at the semantic intersection of 'availability' and 'approachability'. The later terminology and its concept were not yet used, which poses a novel aspect of this study. The results of applying the accessibility evaluation demonstrated that an active mining operation and subsequent processing of rare earth elements showed 'moderate' approachability regarding 'society' and 'environment' and 'high' availability. Conversely, three REE case studies from MDA demonstrated as not being accessible in early project development. In Chapter 6, the accessibility evaluation was refined and confirmed by means of a Delphi survey that involved 48 experts. This resulted in a consolidated framework that was based on 12 applied (semi-) quantitative indicators. These results of four case studies showed 'lower' accessibility for knowledge and certainty (geological knowledge) of MDA. Further, the results of 'economy', 'society' and 'environment' indicated a clear discrepancy between developed and developing countries. This novel in formation enables policy makers to make informed decisions that could highlight the potential for in depth investigations to secure material supply in the long-term. However, the results also emphasised there is little high quality underlying data along the supply chain and within waste management. Overall, this thesis presents a novel, innovative and practical methodological framework that can provide valuable knowledge to support decision makers at the government level in characterising and evaluating the accessibility of both EoL products and the Earth's crust under sustainability considerations.
Supervisor: Williams, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available