Sustainability science has received progressively greater attention worldwide, given the growing environmental concerns and socioeconomic inequity, both largely resulting from a prevailing global economic model that has prioritized profits. It is now widely recognized that mankind needs to adopt measures to change the currently unsustainable production and consumption patterns. The minerals industry plays a fundamental role in this context, having received attention through various initiatives over the last decades. Several of these have been, however, questioned in practice. Indeed, a consensus on the implications of sustainability in the minerals industry has not yet been reached. The present work aims to deepen the discussion on how the mineral sector can improve its sustainability. An exhaustive literature review of peer-reviewed academic articles published on the topic in English over the last 25 years, as well as complementary references, has been carried out. From this, it became clear that there is a need to build a better definition of sustainability for the mineral sector, which has been proposed here from a more holistic viewpoint. Finally, and in light of this new perspective, several of the trade-offs and synergies related to sustainability of the minerals industry are discussed in a cross-sectional manner.
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