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Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (16 October 2023) | Viewed by 12459

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Economics, Organization and Management, Saint Petersburg Mining University, 2, 21st Line, 199106 Saint Petersburg, Russia
Interests: sustainable development of companies; circular economy; waste management; mining; integrated use of minerals; cost optimization

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics, Organization and Management, Saint Petersburg Mining University, 2, 21st Line, 199106 Saint Petersburg, Russia
Interests: economic efficiency; non-waste production; environmental management economy; economic efficiency of rational use of mineral raw materials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to announce a new Special Issue, ”Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management”, in the journal Sustainability.

Circular economy seeks to break the rigid link between the growth in demand for goods and the need to exploit non-renewable natural resources more intensively. In industrial production, it is the cyclical substitution of primary minerals with secondary materials and resources according to the principle "any waste is raw material for other processes". The global benefits of the circular economy in the context of sustainable development are the creation of new jobs and opportunities for social inclusion, while saving energy and reducing the damage associated with air, soil and water pollution, as well as reducing current levels of carbon dioxide emissions. The technical feasibility and economic viability of a rational use of subsoil, resources, and mining waste has been proven over many years by many mining companies around the world. However, despite the significant resource potential of reserves of useful components in the accumulated wastes in many developing countries with resource-oriented economies, they have traditionally been used unsustainably.

This Special Issue will highlight recent research on the conceptual and methodological development of circular economy and environmental management strategies at the industry level, taking into account that the conservation of the value of materials and resources is carried out throughout their life cycle using the world's best available technologies.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • creation of business models focused on reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, redesign, remanufacture, repurpose;
  • sustainable development of mining companies through the rational and integrated use of natural resources;
  • assessment of the efficiency of mineral resources’ use through the processing of mining and processing waste;
  • development of strategies to implement the best available technologies in mining and processing processes;
  • improvement of the special management system aimed at the preservation of environmental quality and ensuring regulatory environmental parameters, based on the concept of sustainable development of society;
  • the practice of "green mining".

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Oksana Marinina
Dr. Anna Tsvetkova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • circular economy
  • environmental management
  • mineral resource management
  • resource efficiency
  • life cycle
  • green mining
  • natural capital
  • resource value
  • industrial ecology
  • environmental quality

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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22 pages, 4705 KiB  
Article
Methane Emission Estimation Tools as a Basis for Sustainable Underground Mining of Gas-Bearing Coal Seams
by Sergey Sidorenko, Vyacheslav Trushnikov and Andrey Sidorenko
Sustainability 2024, 16(8), 3457; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16083457 - 20 Apr 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
Underground coal mining of gas-bearing coal seams is accompanied by the emission of large amounts of methane, which increases with depth. Coal seam methane is not only a major cause of major accidents in coal mines, but is also a greenhouse gas that [...] Read more.
Underground coal mining of gas-bearing coal seams is accompanied by the emission of large amounts of methane, which increases with depth. Coal seam methane is not only a major cause of major accidents in coal mines, but is also a greenhouse gas that has a significant negative impact on the Earth’s atmosphere. Analysis of the efficiency of underground coal mining suggests that as the depth of mining increases, the productivity of a longwall decreases by a factor of 3–5 or more, while the specific volume of methane emitted increases manifold and the efficiency of methane management decreases. Effective management of coal seam methane can only be achieved by monitoring its content at key points in a system of workings. Monitoring of methane not only eliminates the risk of explosions, but also lets us assess the effectiveness of using methane management techniques and their parameters to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of methane management (including a methane drainage) for ensuring sustainable underground coal mining. The aim of this article is to develop a software and hardware complex for monitoring methane in a coal mine by creating a simulation model for monitoring methane. The Arduino Uno board and the methane sensor MQ-4 were used for this purpose. In this article, the causes of methane emissions in coal mines, gas control systems, the structure of the mine monitoring system, and the causes of risks and occurrence of accidents in coal mines are considered. As a result of the work, the mathematical model of the methane measurement sensor was developed; the Arduino Uno board developed a simulation system for methane monitoring; and the numerical results of the research are presented in the graphs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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28 pages, 1954 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Development of Mining Regions in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation
by Natalia Kirsanova, Marina Nevskaya and Semyon Raikhlin
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2060; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052060 - 1 Mar 2024
Viewed by 762
Abstract
The Arctic’s specific conditions require increased attention to natural and human capital. Therefore, implementing the principles of the sustainable development concept, balancing economic, social, and environmental goals is of paramount importance. Mining is at the heart of the strategy for the socio-economic development [...] Read more.
The Arctic’s specific conditions require increased attention to natural and human capital. Therefore, implementing the principles of the sustainable development concept, balancing economic, social, and environmental goals is of paramount importance. Mining is at the heart of the strategy for the socio-economic development of Russia’s Arctic territories. This study’s objective is topical: to justify measures lifting the restrictions on sustainable development of AZRF (the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation) mining regions. The authors propose a method to identify AZRF regions where mining determines the socio-economic development level (Komi Republic, Nenets Autonomous District, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, Yakutia, and Chukotka Autonomous District). The multi-factor regression analysis conducted confirms the hypothesis that living standards and achievement of social standards in the AZRF mining regions depend on the income and fiscal capacity levels, which makes the state more responsible for the region’s development. The authors prove the expediency of reconsidering the proportions of rental income redistributed between the budgets of the AZRF mining regions and the federal budget in favor of the former, until migration and natural population growth become positive and reach the target indicators of strategies of socio-economic development. The study’s results can be used to justify the state policy while elaborating strategies for AZRF development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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20 pages, 998 KiB  
Article
Energy Transition in Vietnam: A Strategic Analysis and Forecast
by Minh Phuong Nguyen, Tatiana Ponomarenko and Nga Nguyen
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 1969; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16051969 - 27 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2711
Abstract
Energy landscapes in Asia and other regions are currently undergoing a transformation aimed at increasing the share of clean energy sources. This article analyzes and forecasts the electricity demand in Vietnam, examining existing constraints that necessitate the shift from coal to renewable energy [...] Read more.
Energy landscapes in Asia and other regions are currently undergoing a transformation aimed at increasing the share of clean energy sources. This article analyzes and forecasts the electricity demand in Vietnam, examining existing constraints that necessitate the shift from coal to renewable energy sources. The rapid economic growth in Vietnam is driving a substantial surge in electricity demand, projected to reach 124 thousand MW by 2030 according to the National Electricity Plan, positioning Vietnam second in Southeast Asia. This surge poses a significant challenge to national energy security, given the impracticality of effective coal mining in the country and the imperative to develop renewable energy sources. Anticipating the changes in Vietnam’s energy mix by 2050, this study foresees a substantial reduction in dependence on coal production. Government investment and green energy investment funds such as JETP are strategically directed towards renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, biomass, hydrogen energy, and efficient energy storage technologies. Consequently, this research substantiates the viability of an energy transition from coal to green energy in Vietnam. The article presents an assessment of the rate of replacing coal with renewable energy sources, taking into consideration various scenarios for economic development, energy consumption growth, and the utilization of renewable energy sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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22 pages, 1603 KiB  
Article
The Application of Green Seismic Survey Technology in Forested Areas and Its Ecological and Economic Effectiveness: Methodology and Practice of Application
by Olga Kalinina, Dmitry Metkin and Olga Bichevaya
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041476 - 9 Feb 2024
Viewed by 632
Abstract
The issues surrounding the employment of technology targeted at enhancing environmental safety to increase the productivity of the reproduction process of the natural gas and oil resource base are equally important. The paper discusses the use of green seismic survey technology to determine [...] Read more.
The issues surrounding the employment of technology targeted at enhancing environmental safety to increase the productivity of the reproduction process of the natural gas and oil resource base are equally important. The paper discusses the use of green seismic survey technology to determine the oil and gas potential of the subsoil. A methodological toolkit is proposed for carrying out technical and economic calculations to determine indicators of the environmental and economic efficiency of using innovative resource-saving technology for geological surveys in areas densely planted with forests. The purpose of the work is to establish the viability of employing resource-saving technology known as green seismic technology to search for promising hydrocarbon resources in forested areas and determine the expected environmental and economic benefits of geological exploration using the suggested enhanced methodology for their evaluation. The tasks set to achieve the goal were solved using methods of geological and economic assessment of the hydrocarbon raw material potential of territories and water areas; environmental assessments of the negative influence of anthropogenic environmental impacts on the natural environment; and economic and statistical methods of performing technical and economic calculations to determine performance indicators for the implementation of innovative projects in the field of geological exploration. The novelty of the results obtained lies in the proposed improved algorithm for conducting an environmental and economic assessment of geological exploration for hydrocarbon raw materials; a conceptual description of the green seismic technology; systematization of technical, economic, and environmental risks; and justification of new regional directions for geological exploration using resource-saving seismic exploration technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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38 pages, 3337 KiB  
Article
Economic Strategy for Developing the Oil Industry in Mexico by Incorporating Environmental Factors
by Tatyana Semenova and Juan Yair Martínez Santoyo
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010036 - 19 Dec 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1124
Abstract
This article presents a methodological approach that can more effectively solve environmental problems related to the activities of oil companies. Traditionally, environmental factors have been seen as merely an additional cost that obstructs economic development. The contribution of the authors’ approach lies in [...] Read more.
This article presents a methodological approach that can more effectively solve environmental problems related to the activities of oil companies. Traditionally, environmental factors have been seen as merely an additional cost that obstructs economic development. The contribution of the authors’ approach lies in the fact that it substantiates the need and the possibility to increase the potential for the functioning and development of the country, for the case of Mexico, while considering environmental factors on a scientific basis. This study proposes a methodology and, therefore, the selection of a strategy for the development of Mexico’s oil industry, ensuring an increase in its environmental and economic efficiency and the sustainability of its territorial functioning and development. The methodology presented in this article develops the concept of sub-potentials, which include the sub-potentials of reproduction, protection, management and development, and reserve. Sub-potentials, particularly the protection sub-potential, integrate environmental components. Neglecting environmental factors leads to an increase in the sub-potentials of the threat and deterrence. Environmental factors are analyzed as a part of a unified strategy for the development of the country, when presenting the formation of a comprehensive system of indicators using management guidelines and a three-dimensional assessment of the criteria for the development of the country’s oil and gas sector. The consequence of using this methodology is the integration of the environmental component of the development in the oil and gas sector into the country’s unified socio-economic strategy. This can effectively solve environmental problems and achieve socio-economic development goals. Consequently, incorporating the environmental aspect based on the proposed methodology permits the effective utilization of society’s limited resources. The application of this systematic approach, encompassing all levels of sustainable strategic development—the oil company, the industry, and the country—also yields additional synergies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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22 pages, 3938 KiB  
Article
Efficiency of Low-Carbon Technologies Implementation at Non-Ferrous Metallurgy Enterprises under the Conditions of Carbon-Regulation Development in Russia
by Alexey Cherepovitsyn, Gennady Stroykov and Alexander Nevolin
Sustainability 2023, 15(24), 16640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152416640 - 7 Dec 2023
Viewed by 947
Abstract
Carbon markets are highly relevant to the need to regulate man-made greenhouse gas emissions. As the world faces the dangerous effects of global warming, reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become a critical priority for governments, corporations and individuals around the world. Carbon markets [...] Read more.
Carbon markets are highly relevant to the need to regulate man-made greenhouse gas emissions. As the world faces the dangerous effects of global warming, reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become a critical priority for governments, corporations and individuals around the world. Carbon markets offer a way to incentivize and encourage emissions reductions and facilitate a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy. Low-carbon development is possible by building transparent and understandable organizational and economic conditions for the operation of carbon regulation. This article considers the feasibility of introducing energy-efficient technologies at Polymetal International PLC enterprises located in Khabarovsk region, engaged in the mining and processing of non-ferrous and precious metals (gold, silver and copper) in light of the country’s growing attention to the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. The objective of this study is to model the organizational and economic conditions of the carbon market and estimate the economic and climate outcomes from the implementation of energy-efficient technologies at Polymetal International PLC. This study analyzes the current energy-consumption structure of non-ferrous metallurgy enterprises in Russia and identifies potential areas for the use of energy-efficient technologies. An important aspect is the assessment of government policies and incentives that could facilitate the introduction of low-carbon technologies. It is important to assess the impact of prospective carbon-management plans in Russia on the economic performance of steel companies. The results of this study suggest that the introduction of low-carbon technologies has the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption, lower operating costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from non-ferrous metal companies in Russia. However, the successful implementation of these technologies will require significant investment, stakeholder cooperation and political support from the Russian government. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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14 pages, 5453 KiB  
Article
Hydrochemical Characteristics and Sources of Lithium in Carbonate-Type Salt Lake in Tibet
by Jiangdi Zhou, Binkai Li, Maoyong He, Jiangang Jiao, Zhongli Tang and Zhengyan Li
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316235 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 699
Abstract
With the development of green energy, the demand for lithium resources has increased sharply, and salt lakes are an important source of lithium. In China, the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau has substantial lithium resources, and the Bangor Co Salt Lake is a typical Li-rich carbonate [...] Read more.
With the development of green energy, the demand for lithium resources has increased sharply, and salt lakes are an important source of lithium. In China, the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau has substantial lithium resources, and the Bangor Co Salt Lake is a typical Li-rich carbonate salt lake in northern Tibet. Research into the lithium source of the lake is of great significance for future sustainable industrial development. This article selects the Bangor Co Salt Lake recharge water system (river and cold spring water) and brine samples as the research objects, conducts hydrochemical composition and isotope testing of the water body, and determines the anions, cations, and B isotopes of the samples. This article uses the Piper three-line diagram, Gibbs diagram, and ion ratio relationship to study the hydrochemical characteristics and major ion sources of recharge water systems and salt lakes. The results indicate that the hydrochemical type has transitioned from the strong carbonate type to the moderate carbonate type from the recharge area to the lake area. The major source of ions in lakes is the weathering products of carbonate rocks, followed by evaporite and silicate solutes. The enrichment of lithium in salt lakes is mainly related to the contribution of rivers, followed by geothermal-related cold springs, and early sedimentary carbonate minerals may also make potential contributions. These findings provide a scientific basis for the mechanism of lithium enrichment, as well as for the further development and evaluation of lithium resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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18 pages, 3819 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Resource Potential of Li in the Clay Minerals of Mahai Salt Lake in the Qaidam Basin, China
by Tong Pan, Jianzhou Chen, Mao-Yong He, Chengwang Ding, Yuliang Ma, Hui Liang, Tao Zhang and Xiaochun Du
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14067; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914067 - 22 Sep 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 971
Abstract
The strategic importance of lithium in global development has become increasingly prominent due to the rapid growth of the new energy automotive industry and the continuous advancements in controllable nuclear fusion technology. Lithium minerals in salt lakes possess advantageous characteristics, such as abundant [...] Read more.
The strategic importance of lithium in global development has become increasingly prominent due to the rapid growth of the new energy automotive industry and the continuous advancements in controllable nuclear fusion technology. Lithium minerals in salt lakes possess advantageous characteristics, such as abundant reserves, environmental sustainability, and economic viability. Furthermore, with ongoing improvements in the lithium extraction process, the availability of lithium minerals in salt lakes is expected to further increase. The Qaidam Basin Salt Lake in China has served as the location for the establishment of numerous lithium carbonate production enterprises, resulting in a lithium carbonate production volume of 7 × 104 t/yr in 2022. How to meet the growing need for lithium resources has become an enterprise focus. Nevertheless, there are large amounts of clay minerals in and around the bottom and periphery of the salt lake in the Qaidam Basin, and whether these minerals are of exploitable value, regardless of the state of the occurrence of lithium resources, remains unexplored. To ascertain the attributes, extent, and distribution of the lithium occurrence within the clayey layer of the Qaidam Basin, as well as to assess its resource potential, a total of 87 drill holes were conducted within a designated area of the Mahai Basin, which is a secondary basin in the Qaidam Basin. The subsequent analysis encompassed the examination of the lithium content within the clay minerals, the mineral composition of the clay, and, ultimately, the evaluation of the resource potential within the region. Compared with Quaternary salt lake deposits, brine deposits in gravel pores, and the Paleogene–Neogene Li-bearing salt deposits that have been studied, it is suggested that this is a novel form of a clay-type sedimentary Li deposit within the Qaidam Basin. The findings of this research will serve as a fundamental basis for future endeavors pertaining to the exploration and exploitation of lithium deposits within salt lake areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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25 pages, 3813 KiB  
Article
Technical and Economic Assessment of Energy Efficiency of Electrification of Hydrocarbon Production Facilities in Underdeveloped Areas
by Oksana Marinina, Anna Nechitailo, Gennady Stroykov, Anna Tsvetkova, Ekaterina Reshneva and Liudmila Turovskaya
Sustainability 2023, 15(12), 9614; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129614 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 1494
Abstract
The relevance of the technical and economic evaluation of options for the optimization of electrification projects of hydrocarbon production facilities is due to the growing need for the development of new fields in undeveloped and hard-to-reach territories. Development of new fields requires the [...] Read more.
The relevance of the technical and economic evaluation of options for the optimization of electrification projects of hydrocarbon production facilities is due to the growing need for the development of new fields in undeveloped and hard-to-reach territories. Development of new fields requires the construction of large amounts of infrastructure energy facilities, new solutions to improve energy efficiency, reducing capital intensity of projects, solutions to improve the efficiency of resource use in the circular economy, and the use of renewable energy sources (RES). Analysis of the technological directions of electrification of hydrocarbon production facilities proves that the low level of application of RES for energy supply purposes is due to the lack of experimental data on the implementation of this kind of project. This study considers features of technological solutions, practical recommendations, and the main limitations of the application of a hybrid automated system based on RES for the electrification of gas production facilities located in poorly-developed territories. A comparative technical and economic analysis of electrification options using autonomous RES and construction of a power transmission line (PTL) to a remote section of an oil and gas condensate field located in the Arctic zone was carried out. In order to justify the implementation of the electrification project with the use of RES sources, the climatic potential of the region was assessed, and the calculation of energy supply needs and a comparison of alternatives on the basis of specific total capital and operating costs were provided. Assessment of the specific indicator of costs for the proposed variant of the autonomous energy complex based on wind generation indicated savings of RUB 2.24 per kilowatt-hour of energy used. The results of the study can be used in project planning and evaluation of proposed technological solutions based on the rational choice of energy sources and optimization of cost indicators for the construction and operation of energy supply systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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Review

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31 pages, 3391 KiB  
Review
Actual Quality Changes in Natural Resource and Gas Grid Use in Prospective Hydrogen Technology Roll-Out in the World and Russia
by Dmitry Radoushinsky, Kirill Gogolinskiy, Yousef Dellal, Ivan Sytko and Abhishek Joshi
Sustainability 2023, 15(20), 15059; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152015059 - 19 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
About 95% of current hydrogen production uses technologies involving primary fossil resources. A minor part is synthesized by low-carbon and close-to-zero-carbon-footprint methods using RESs. The significant expansion of low-carbon hydrogen energy is considered to be a part of the “green transition” policies taking [...] Read more.
About 95% of current hydrogen production uses technologies involving primary fossil resources. A minor part is synthesized by low-carbon and close-to-zero-carbon-footprint methods using RESs. The significant expansion of low-carbon hydrogen energy is considered to be a part of the “green transition” policies taking over in technologically leading countries. Projects of hydrogen synthesis from natural gas with carbon capture for subsequent export to European and Asian regions poor in natural resources are considered promising by fossil-rich countries. Quality changes in natural resource use and gas grids will include (1) previously developed scientific groundwork and production facilities for hydrogen energy to stimulate the use of existing natural gas grids for hydrogen energy transport projects; (2) existing infrastructure for gas filling stations in China and Russia to allow the expansion of hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles (HFCVs) using typical “mini-plant” projects of hydrogen synthesis using methane conversion technology; (3) feasibility testing for different hydrogen synthesis plants at medium and large scales using fossil resources (primarily natural gas), water and atomic energy. The results of this study will help focus on the primary tasks for quality changes in natural resource and gas grid use. Investments made and planned in hydrogen energy are assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Mining Ecology Management)
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