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Developing a coupled environmental impact assessment (C-EIA) method with sustainable development approach for environmental analysis in coal industries

Abstract

Mining and the mineral industry have always been one of the main environmental challenges of human societies. In the current research, a coupled method for environmental assessment of coal industries was presented. At first, an inventory of the plant activities and the environmental impacts were prepared. Then, four EIA methods, including Leopold matrix, modified Folchi, AHP method, and RIAM matrix, were used to assess the environmental impacts of the plant. After that, the coupled environmental impact assessment (C-EIA) method was used to integrate the outcomes of different EIA techniques. The result of different methods compared with each other, and then, they are combined using both the Borda and Copland methods and a novel method called direct ranking strategy. Finally, the obtained results from these three methods are integrated as well, to provide a unique address for the environmental impact assessment of the plant. Developed C-EIA method was used for assessing the Alborz Sharghi coal washing plant of northeastern Iran and its impacts on the surrounding environment. The most effective impacting factor of the plant on the critical components was evaluated as the “material existed in the tailings” that should be considered in any factory development plans. By using the Phillips method and the sustainable development index (SDI), the quantitative dependence value of the plant to the sustainable development components was estimated, and the plant sustainability number (S) was obtained (− 0.0395). This SD number means that some modifications should be taken on the project. C-EIA method and SDI are the powerful methods for quantitative environmental analysis of the industrial factories especially in coal mining sector with high-risk potential.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the experts who provided their knowledge on weighting the criteria by completing the questionnaires. Professor Mohammad Ataei and Dr. Behshad Jodeiri Shokri are appreciated for their invaluable comments. The Alborz Sharghi Coal Washing Plant is thanked for financial and technical support.

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Correspondence to Faramarz Doulati Ardejani.

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The current research is part of project for comprehensive environmental investigation of Iran north part coal mines. We are very grateful for the cooperation of the Alborz Sharghi Coal Washing Plant and also the authors thank MEHR laboratory of the University of Tehran for encouragement and financial support.

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Mohebali, S., Maghsoudy, S., Doulati Ardejani, F. et al. Developing a coupled environmental impact assessment (C-EIA) method with sustainable development approach for environmental analysis in coal industries. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 6799–6830 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-019-00513-2

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Keywords

  • Coupled EIA
  • Alborz Sharghi coal washing plant
  • Sustainable development index (SDI)
  • Philips method
  • Direct Ranking Strategy (SDR)