Feasibility of Applying Clean Development Mechanism and GHGs Emission Reductions in the Gold Mining Industry: A Case of Thailand

Open access


There is presently overwhelming scientific consensus that global climate change is indeed occurring, and that human activities are the primary driver. An increasingly resource and carbon constrained world will continue to pose formidable challenges to major industries, including mining. Understanding the implications of climate change mitigation for the mining industry, however, remains limited. This paper presents the results of a feasibility study on the implementation of a clean development mechanism and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission reductions in the gold mining industry. It draws upon and extends the analysis of a case study conducted on gold mining operations in Thailand. The results from the case study indicated that total GHGs emissions by company A were approximately 36,886 tons carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e) per annual gold production capacity that meet the eligibility criteria for small-scaled clean development mechanism (CDM) projects. The electrostatic separation process was found to release the lowest amount of GHGs, whereas comminution (i.e. crushing and grinding) generated the highest GHGs emissions. By scope, the emission from purchased electricity (scope 2) is the most significant source. Opportunities for CDM projects implementation in the gold mining sector can be found in employing energy efficiency measures. Through innovation, some technical efficiency and technological development in gold processing (i.e. high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR), vertical roller mills (VRM), gravity pre-concentration and microwave heating technologies) that have the potential to reduce energy use and also lower carbon footprint of the gold mining were further discussed. The evidence reviews found that HPGR and VRM abatement technologies have shown energy and climate benefits as electricity savings and CO2 reduction of about 8-25.93 kWh/ton ore processed and 1.8-26.66 kgCO2/ton ore processed, respectively. Implications for further research and practice were finally raised.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • [1] Stern N. Stern Review on the Economic of Climate Change. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press 2007.

  • [2] UNFCCC. Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [Online]. Available: http://unfccc.int/cop5/resource/docs/cop3/l07a01.pdf

  • [3] Kittipongvises S. Potential of clean development mechanism activities (CDM) activities for greenhouse gases reduction at a starch-processing factory in Thailand Master’s thesis. Asian Institute of Technology Thailand 2008.

  • [4] OECD. Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Industry - Successful Approaches and Lessons Learned: Workshop Report OECD Paper 2004:4(2):1

  • [5] IPCC. Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Cambridge United Kingdom and New York USA: Cambridge University Press 2014

  • [6] JGSEE KMUTT. Thailand’s Second National Communications to the UNFCCC: Greenhouse Gas Inventory [Online] Available: https://unfccc.int/files/national_reports/non-nnex_i_natcom/submitted_natcom/application/pdf/snc_thailand.pdf

  • [7] IPCC. Fourth Assessment Report [Online]. Available: http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-syr.htm

  • [8] TGO. Current Status of CDM in Thailand [Online]. Available: http://www.tgo.or.th/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=60&Itemid=91

  • [9] UNFCCC. List of sectoral scopes [Online]. Available: http://cdm.unfccc.int/DOE/scopelst.pdf

  • [10] Bank of Thailand. Thailand’s economic condition in 2010 [Online]. Available: http://www.bot.or.th/English/EconomicConditions/Thai/report/AnnualReport_Doc/AnnualReport_2010.pdf

  • [11] Department of Primary Industries and Mines Ministry of Industry. Mineral Statistics of Thailand 2012-2013 (Fiscal year) 2014

  • [12] TGO. GHG emission by sector in CO2 equivalent (Million tons) and percent for 2000 [Online]. Available: http://www.tgo.or.th/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=71

  • [13] EPA's Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions [Online]. Available: http://www.epa.gov/greeningepa/ghg/

  • [14] EPA. Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Key Industrial Sectors in the United States: Working Draft 2008

  • [15] Greenhouse Gas Division Environment Canada. Guidance Manual for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Metal Mining [Online]. Available: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection/En49-2-9-2E.pdf

  • [16] Mining Association of Canada Inventorying Measuring and Reporting on Climate Change Actions Report Pembina Institute and Stratos Inc 2000

  • [17] GAIMAN. Gold Recovery Processes [Online]. Available:

  • [18] Department of Primary Industries and Mines Ministry of Industry and Faculty of Engineering Chiang Mai University Thailand. An evaluation of CDM project development in the mining industry: Final report 2010.

  • [19] TGO. Carbon Footprint for Organization: Emission factor [Online]. Available: http://thaicarbonlabel.tgo.or.th/download/Emission_Factor_CFO.pdf

  • [20] TGO. Carbon Footprint of Products: Emission factor [Online]. Available: http://thaicarbonlabel.tgo.or.th/download/Emission_Factor_CFP.pdf

  • [21] Norgate T. Haque N. Energy and greenhouse gas impacts of mining and mineral processing operations. Journal of Cleaner Production 2010:18:266-274. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.09.020

  • [22] Norgate T. Haque N. Using life cycle assessment to evaluate some environmental impacts of gold production. Journal of Cleaner Production 2012:29-30:53-63. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.01.042

  • [23] Boyan R. Peter S. Preliminary GHG Emission Inventory DPM Krumovgrad Sofia Bulgaria [Online]. Available: http://www.dundeeprecious.com/files/technical_reports/Preliminary_GHG_Inventory_EN_v001_y248z1.pdf

  • [24] Haque N. Norgate T. The greenhouse gas footprint of in-situ leaching of uranium gold and copper in Australia. Journal of Cleaner Production 2014:84:382-390. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.09.033

  • [25] Yahaya N. R. Murad M. Morad N. Fizri F. F. A. Environmental impact of electricity consumption in crushing and grinding processes of traditional and urban gold mining by using life cycle assessment (LCA). Iranica Journal of Energy & Environment 2012:3:66-73.

  • [26] UNFCCC. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its seventh session. Addendum part two: Action taken by the Conference of the Parties. Vol. II. Modalities and procedures for a clean development mechanism as defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol Marrakech 2001.

  • [27] Gary C. The Clean Development Mechanism as a Vehicle for Technology Transfer and Sustainable Development - Myth or Reality? Law Environment and Development Journal 2010:6(2):179.

  • [28] Chavalala B. Nhamo G. Clean and energy efficient technology as green economy transition mechanism in South African gold mining: case of Kusasalethu. Environmental Economics 2014:5:74-83.

  • [29] US Department of Energy. Industrial Technologies Program. Mining Industry Energy Bandwidth Study June 2007 [Online]. Available: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/resources/mining/pdfs/mining_bandwidth.pdf

  • [30] Taylor A. Gold technology developments and trends. ALTA 2010 Gold Conference Perth Western Australia 2010

  • [31] Dunne R. C. Goulsbra A. Dunlop I. High pressure grinding rolls and the effect on liberation: Comparative Test Results. Randol Gold Forum 96 Olympic Valley 1996

  • [32] Van der Meer F. Maphosa W. High pressure grinding moving ahead in copper iron and gold processing. 6th Southern African Base Metals Conference Phalaborwa South Africa 2011:389-410.

  • [33] Cembureau Best Available Techniques for the Cement Industry Brussels: Cembureau 1997.

  • [34] Institute for industrial productivity. Vertical Roller Mills for finish grinding [Online]. Available: http://ietd.iipnetwork.org/content/vertical-roller-mills-finish-grinding

  • [35] Harcus M. Golden age. Mining Magazine 2011:57-67

  • [36] Chadwick J. Golden horizons. International Mining 2011:68-76

  • [37] Hasanbeigi A. Menke C. Price L. The CO2 abatement cost curve for the Thailand cement industry. Journal of Cleaner Production 2010:18:1509-1518. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2010.06.005

  • [38] Hasanbeigi A. Price L. Lu H. Lan W. Analysis of energy-efficiency opportunities for the cement industry in Shandong Province China: A case study of 16 cement plants. Energy 2010:35:3461-3473. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2010.04.046

  • [39] Worrell E. Galitsky C. Price L. Energy Efficiency Improvement Opportunities for the Cement Industry. Berkeley CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2008 [Online]. Available: http://ies.lbl.gov/node/402

  • [40] Šommet J. Sustainable Development in Estonian Mining. Environmental and Climate Technologies 2013:11:31-40. doi:10.2478/rtuect-2013-0005

  • [41] Pruse I. European Union Emissions Trading System with Regard to Climate Change Mitigation in Latvia. Environmental and Climate Technologies 2012:8:29-35. doi:10.2478/v10145-012-0005-y

  • [42] Laicane I. Rosa M. Dzene I. Application of CO2 Taxes for Combustion Installations in Latvia until 2020. Environmental and Climate Technologies 2012:6:44-48. doi:10.2478/v10145-011-0006-2

  • [43] Liang X. Wang Z. Zhou Z. Huang Z. Zhou J. Cen K. Up-to-date life cycle assessment and comparison study of clean coal power generation technologies in China. Journal of Cleaner Production 2013:39:24-31. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.08.003

  • [44] Korre A. Nie Z. Durucan S. Life cycle modelling of fossil fuel power generation with post-combustion CO2 capture. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 2010:4:289-300. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2009.02.177

  • [45] Nie Z. Korre A. Duracan S. Life cycle modelling and comparative assessment of the environmental impacts of oxyfuel and post-combustion CO2 capture transport and injection processes. Energy Procedia 2011:.4:2510-2517. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.147

  • [46] Odeh N. A. Cockerill T. T. Life cycle GHG assessment of fossil fuel power plants with carbon capture and storage. Energy Policy 2010:36:367-380. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2007.09.026

  • [47] Banan Z. Maleki A. Carbon Capture & Storage Deployment in Iran. Energy Procedia 2013:37:7492-7501. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.693

  • [48] Heijungs R. Ecodesign - carbon footprint - life cycle assessment - life cycle sustainability analysis. A flexible framework for a continuum of tools. Environmental and Climate Technologies 2010:4:42-46. doi:10.2478/v10145-010-0016-5

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 1.67

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.21
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.86

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 221 169 6
PDF Downloads 121 100 4