SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation

Sustainable Use of Energy and Water Resources in the Mining Sector: A Comparative Case Study of Open-Pit and Alluvial Mining Technology
  • Natalia A. Cano LondoñoEmail author
  • Jessi Osorio Velasco
  • Felipe Castañeda García
  • Isabel B. Franco
Part of the Science for Sustainable Societies book series (SFSS)


Environmental impacts associated with the use of water and energy resources are among the most significant problems for the mining industry, requiring the implementation of new solutions in line with Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation. Currently, the challenge is converting mineral wealth into development opportunities while responding to the needs of future generations. This is specifically regarding the investment of nonrenewable resources in the implementation of strategies to promote the efficient use of both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. This chapter aims to evaluate the cradle-to-gate consumption of renewable (water) and nonrenewable energy sources in both open-pit and alluvial mining systems. Additionally, life cycle assessment (LCA) has been performed to both estimate and analyze their impact on water resources. This is extended by the presentation of opposing reductive strategies including the optimization of process efficiency and use of circular economies. This research is significant within the Colombian context as water usage is often a determining factor in the attainment of key environmental and social licenses. Furthermore, the results of this investigation clearly show how water usage and the magnitude of its related impacts differ between opposing forms of extraction.


SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation Sustainability Water use Energy use Efficiency Gold mining 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalia A. Cano Londoño
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessi Osorio Velasco
    • 1
  • Felipe Castañeda García
    • 2
  • Isabel B. Franco
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of MinesUniversidad Nacional de ColombiaMedellínColombia
  2. 2.Grupo MinerosMedellinColombia
  3. 3.Institute for the Advanced Study of SustainabilityUnited Nations University Shibuya-kuTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Australian Institute for Business and EconomicsThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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