Development of Sustainable Test Sites for Mineral Exploration and Knowledge Spillover for Industry
In mineral exploration, pressure is growing to develop innovative technologies and methods with a lower impact on the social and physical environment. To assess the performance and impact of these technologies and methods, test sites are required. Embedded in the literature on sustainable development, this paper explores how social and environmental measures can be implemented in the design of test sites and what industry stake can learn from sustainable test sites. Through qualitative research, two value networks were developed, one for a sustainable test site approach and another for the existing business practice in mineral exploration. Respondents include public sector o_cials as well as experts in the social, environmental, business, geoscience, and industry fields. The analysis identifies key drivers for the development of socially and environmentally accepted test sites, thus drawing up actionable points for the mineral exploration industry to increase sustainability. The findings of this paper suggest that the integration of experts and partners from social, as well as environmental, sciences drives sustainability at test sites. For industry application, this results in the need to adapt the activities performed, align resource use with sustainability indicators, and also reconfigure the network of partners towards more socially and environmentally oriented business practices.