In current mine project feasibility studies, sustainability issues are not taken into consideration in the mine design, planning and engineering processes. They are rather incorporated at later stages of the feasibility evaluation as necessary capital and operating costs. This paper describes the results of a research project aiming to develop a methodology to incorporate sustainability parameters directly into the ore body block model, so that they become an integral part of the evaluation, design, planning and scheduling processes. The methodology is then illustrated with a block model of a real porphyry copper deposit. Incorporating sustainable parameters into the block model would yield a more responsible mine design and improve mining projects' sustainability performance.
Keywords: mining, block model, sustainability, mine planning and design, energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, acid mine drainage potential, employment.