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Cleaner production and technical effectiveness: Multi-criteria analysis of copper smelting facilities

Nikolić, Ivica P., Milošević, Isidora M., Milijić, Nenad N., Mihajlović, Ivan N.
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.215 pp. 423-432
byproducts, copper, decision making, environmental factors, environmental impact, models, processing technology, wastes
The production and use of copper is continually increasing year by year. The modern concept of copper production involves the selection and use of technology which is aimed at preventing the production of large quantities of waste by-products. Increasing the efficiency of the technological process is also important during tendencies to decrease negative impact on the environment. The aim of this paper is to develop a multi-criteria model for selecting the optimal technological process for copper extraction. In order to achieve this goal, the analysis of thirty copper smelters in the world which are using various pyrometallurgical process technologies was performed. The model was developed on the basis of ranking the performance of operating copper smelters by systematically analyzing the technological, economic, and environmental parameters of the technologies applied. PROMETHEE/GAIA methodology of the multi-criteria analysis was used for the modeling. From the aspect of research findings, the results presented in this manuscript fill the literature gap. The major outcome of this research is the obtained model which can have practical merit. The decision-makers, faced with the need of evaluating and selecting the most appropriate technological process for pyrometallurgical copper extraction can benefit from this multi-criteria model. The ranking of available copper technologies applied in different production conditions was done by using the developed model. This resulted in the obtained rank of the available technologies. The findings of the research indicate that optimal results do not come from the best technology but from the best applied and the most appropriate one, depending on the practical conditions, in order to achieve sustainable production, sustainable consumption, and to reduce the impact on the environment.