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Sustainability assessment of resource development projects in Western Australia: How sustainable is the process?

Morrison-Saunders, A. (2006) Sustainability assessment of resource development projects in Western Australia: How sustainable is the process? In: SD06: Operating For Enduring Value, Minerals Council of Australia Sustainable Development Conference, 23 - 27 October, Perth, Western Australia

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    Abstract

    Several recent major Western Australian resource development projects have been subjected to external sustainability assessment (SA) by government agencies. Additionally a number of large (multi-national) mining and resource development companies have been applying SA procedures internally to guide their corporate decision-making process for new projects. In the absence of formal SA requirements or procedures, an ad hoc approach has been adopted in each case. This paper briefly reviews the origin and evolution of SA in Western Australia including its relationship with other assessment processes such as environmental impact assessment. More particularly, it examines the SA procedures that have been used to date and classifies them according to a model which examines:
    • the decision question being asked;
    • the approach to sustainability being adopted; and
    • the nature of the development proposal itself.
    In doing so, the level of integration of economic, social and environmental elements that can be achieved is revealed. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the various SA procedures are examined including the prospects for future practice in Western Australia. Overall the paper addresses the question: How sustainable is sustainability assessment?

    Publication Type: Conference Paper
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/3973
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