Sustainable long-term production planning of open pit mines: An integrated framework for concurrent economical and environmental optimization

Mohammad Mirzehi, Ali Moradi Afrapoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the global demand for mineral resources continues to rise, the mining industry's environmental impact has garnered increasing attention. Sustainable mining practices demand the incorporation of environmental considerations into every phase of planning and operation. This article addresses the critical need to consider and minimize the negative environmental impacts of the operation in the long-term planning of open pit mines, with a specific focus on mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) and dust emissions. To achieve this, the article suggests an integrated framework that incorporates environmental data obtained from life cycle assessment (LCA) and a mixed-integer linear program (MILP) into the mine planning process. This framework, referred to as LCA-MILP, quantifies the environmental impact of mining activities. The article examines various GHG constraints and economic scenarios. To assess and verify the effectiveness of our proposed LCA-MILP framework, we conducted a case study on an open-pit iron ore mine situated in the Middle East. This article underscores the vital role of harmonizing environmental impact with long-term open-pit mine planning, ultimately fostering a more sustainable and socially responsible mining industry. For example, it was feasible to reduce the GHG emissions for 11.05% while achieving 93.66% of the original NPV. In another instance, the framework was capable of achieving the same NPV as the baseline with a 2% price adjustment (a common policy), while attaining a 5.39% reduction in its environmental impact. These measurable outcomes offer mining managers a comprehension of the compromises and prospects associated with incorporating factors into their long-term mine planning procedure promoting a mining industry that is both sustainable and economically viable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105131
JournalResources Policy
StatePublished - Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Dust emissions
  • Environmental impacts
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Long-term planning
  • Sustainable mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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