Addressing the social life cycle inventory analysis data gap: Insights from a case study of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Gabriel Bamana, Joshua D. Miller, Sera L. Young, Jennifer B. Dunn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Evaluating the human health and well-being effects of emerging technologies is essential. Yet, data to support rigorous evaluation of these effects through social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) are lacking, especially at local or regional rather than national scales. As a consequence, technologies and policies that use emerging technologies may drive inequality and detract from quality of life even if environmental life cycle assessments point to likely environmental benefits. Therefore, this Perspective describes our exploratory fieldwork in cobalt mining communities in Lualaba Province, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to identify barriers to and opportunities for collecting better data for conducting S-LCA. Our recommendations apply to the S-LCA of cobalt mining and other systems and, overall, enable more holistic evaluations of emerging technologies' effects on social well-being that are insufficiently robust for use in policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1704-1714
Number of pages11
JournalOne Earth
Volume4
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2021

Keywords

  • cobalt
  • mining
  • social life cycle assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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