Framework for Sustainable Mining of Rare Earth Elements

Sotiris N. Kamenopoulos, Zacharias Agioutantis, Kostas Komnitsas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The dependence of modern society on critical and/or strategic minerals such as rare earth elements is continuously growing as a result of numerous end uses and other factors that have been recognized previously. This chapter proposes the adoption of a framework that can be used to guide the extraction of rare earth elements under sustainable development principles. The proposed framework includes fundamental elements that contribute to a holistic sustainable platform for rare earth elements. It expands on the existing sustainable development framework and proposes (1) five basic pillars: economy, society, environment, technology, and (geo)politics; (2) three controlling/limiting factors: policy, governance, and stakeholders; and (3) a number of output quantities to be used in decision making that can also be used as sustainable development indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRare Earths Industry
Subtitle of host publicationTechnological, Economic, and Environmental Implications
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128023280
StatePublished - Sep 22 2015


  • Rare earth elements
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable mining
  • Swiss cheese model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (all)


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