Climate Impact of China's Promotion of the Filling Mining Method: Bottom-Up Estimation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Underground Metal Mines

Yang Liu, Congrui Zhang, Yingying Huang, Zhixiong Xiao, Yaxuan Han, Gaofeng Ren
2021 Energies  
China recently implemented a "Green Mine" policy focused on promoting the filling method, aiming to mitigate the environmental impacts of underground mining; nevertheless, quantitative inventories have rarely been provided to support or negate such promotion, especially from a life-cycle perspective. Accordingly, this paper proposes a bottom-up model for estimating life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from underground metal mines using either filling or caving methods. Two filling-based
more » ... wo filling-based (Luohe and Longtangyan) and two caving-based (Maogong and Xiaowanggou) iron mines were studied; their direct GHG emissions were 0.576, 0.278, 2.130, and 1.425 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per kiloton-extracted ore (t CO2 eq/kt), respectively. When indirect GHG emissions were considered, the results increased to 17.386, 15.211, 5.554, and 5.602 t CO2 eq/kt, respectively. In contrast to popular belief, such results demonstrate that promoting the filling method can potentially raise the overall GHG emissions. Although filling-based projects generate less direct GHG emissions, the emissions are transferred to upstream sectors, especially the cement and power sectors. The additional electricity consumption in the haulage and backfilling stages is primarily responsible for the greater GHG emissions occurring in filling-based projects. Some mitigation approaches are suggested, such as backfilling the subsidence pit, using industrial waste as cementing materials, employing energy-efficient pumps, and further developing hauling systems.
doi:10.3390/en14113273 fatcat:7lvew5kecjfxfnihlmkjlz27gy