Life Cycle Analysis of gold benefit process in the enterprise Placetas Mining Productions
Elena Regla Rosa Dominguez1, Yuniey Quiala Armenteros2, Susana Diaz Aguirre3, Nydia Suppen Reynaga4, Navarro Perdomo Yessica1, Contreras Moya Ana1, Santos Herrero Ronaldo1
1Universidad Central “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas, Cuba; 2Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología Cuba, Delegación Villa Clara, Cuba; 3Universidad de Pinar del Río “Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca”; 4Centro de Análisis de Ciclo de Vida y diseño sustentable de México
Mining activity produces prosperity in the areas where it is carried out, but undoubtedly it has a considerable environmental impact. For this reason, to find solutions conducive to favorable environmental performance is a challenge in today’s world in order to guarantee the environmental health of Ecosystems. The perspective of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) plays an important role in obtaining integral results. In the present work a LCA was carried out in the gold benefit process at the enterprise Placetas Mining Productions, in the province of Villa Clara, Cuba. The main impacts associated with the process were identified. The selected functional unit was one kg of gold. The information was collected considering the production in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 and the life-cycle inventories were formed. The standard NC ISO 14040: 2009 was considered. ReCiPe Midpoint and Endpoint methodology by means of SimaPro 8.2 software was used. The results show that the most affected categories are the fossils depletion, climate change human health, particle formation, ecosystem climate change and human toxicity. The high consumption of cyanide and electrical energy in the process are the main responsible of these results. The evaluation after the cleaner production measures implementation in the process demonstrated a reduction of the total environmental impact from 2012 to 2014. However it was verified an increase in the categories related to ecotoxicity due to the increase of cyanide and heavy metals in queues not treated satisfactorily. Besides, new measures were proposed related with the recycling water in the process and the redesign of the waste treatment plant, identifying possible environmental improvements in the process.