A proposed framework for estimating the environmental damage cost of mining activities in line with the goals of sustainable mining: a case study of Sungun-Ahar Copper Mine, Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Research group of environmental economics, Research Center for Environment and Sustainable Development, RCESD, Department of Environment, Tehran, I.R. Iran.

2 Department of Applied Geology, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

3 Environmental Economics and Technology Office, Department of Environment, Tehran, Iran


The growth of mining activities reduces the area covered by natural ecosystems and the value of ecosystem services (ES) provided by them. It is necessary to estimate the impacts of land-use changes on the ES value of the ecosystems located in the areas directly and indirectly influenced by mining activities as well as the cost of environmental damages inflicted on the ecosystems. Green mining makes it possible to develop a suitable and effective mechanism for the policymakers and planners to optimally and sustainably upgrade resources utilization. Estimating the cost of the environmental damage of mining activities would effectively preserve ES values and prevent the degradation of ecosystems. It is also an efficient approach in making effective decisions and plans for the restoration of mines. The recent study is the first research to investigate the relationship between mining activities and their impact on reducing/losing the value of ecosystem services by offering a comprehensive and specific framework. The total estimated cost of environmental damages inflicted on ecosystem services influenced by the mining activities in the Sungun Copper Mine was estimated at Int $ 7543232 (1734943 million IRR). This research aimed to develop a comprehensive framework for the stages involved in estimating the changes and losses inflicted on the values of ecosystem services provided by the ecosystems within the scope of direct and indirect effects of mining activities. This framework can help policymakers, stakeholders, and land use planners at regional and national levels preserve ecosystem services and make sustainability plans for the mining regions.


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