Analytical Methodologies Life Cycle Inventory Analysis and Impact Assessment for Metals

A number of life cycle inventory analyses and life cycle impact assessment studies have been undertaken for specifi c elements and metals as a group (Dubreuil 2005). For example, a comparative assessment of the environmental impact of metal production processes was made for nickel, copper, lead, zinc, aluminium, titanium, steel, and stainless steel (Norgate et al. 2007), in which evaluations of four problem-oriented impact categories were presented per kilogram of metal produced. The categories were gross energy requirement, global warming potential, acidifi cation potential, and solid waste burden. Though other environmental impact categories (e.g., ecological and human toxicity) are also important, they were not included in this study because of limited data. Data for mobility (leaching behavior) of toxic substances in the solid waste from mining and metallurgical process should be included to cover broader environmental impact categories. At present, there is no widely accepted single index that captures all major environmental impacts associated with life cycle of metals.

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