System dynamics modelling: a more effective tool for assessing the impact of sustainable development policies on the mining industry
B. O’Regan, R. Moles, 2005. "System dynamics modelling: a more effective tool for assessing the impact of sustainable development policies on the mining industry", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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The high mobility of mining investment is frequently cited in the literature. Consequently, the concept of relative attractiveness is particularly important. This paper describes a detailed computer simulation ‘feedback’ model. The model provides a means of examining the effects of varied environmental, fiscal and corporate policies on the flow of investment funds and mineral resources between a number of simulated mining firms and competing countries. Through a quantitative analysis of existing data, the model exposes, within the context of sustainable development, the underlying assumptions used as a basis for corporate decisions. Through the compression of time, the model provides a means of taking these assumptions to their logical conclusions. Exposing assumptions in this way leaves less room for misinterpretation and provides a solid basis for enhancing the understanding of system structure. It is by better understanding system structure that more effective sustainable development policies may be designed and implemented. An outline of the system dynamics method is also presented.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.