Minviro Ltd., founder and ceo
Dr Robert Pell is the Founder & Director of Minviro, which is a spin-out company from University of Exeter. Robert completed his PhD at Camborne School of Mines (University of Exeter) as part of the NERC funded SoSRare project on the topic ‘responsible sourcing of rare earth elements’. During this project, novel LCA approaches were developed and applied to rare earth element projects in the pre-feasibility stage of development. A unique method to apply LCA to mine planning was also developed and these technologies have been further refined and applied in commercial settings. Prior to this, Robert worked as Assistant Editor at International Mining, a globally distributed magazine covering technical innovations and project case studies for the mining industry.
Significant opportunities exist within the mining industry to reduce the environmental impacts of the acquisition and utilisation of critical raw materials. As demand for technology metals and industrial materials rises in the pursuit of a low-carbon economy, the pressure on responsible sourcing grows. As a response to the global necessity for deep change in how society approaches sustainable raw material extraction, Minviro uses a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to quantify the environmental impacts of raw material mining, processing and refining operations and developments around the world.
LCA is a globally-recognised, robust methodology used to capture environmental impacts associated with material and energy inputs for a given product or process, and is gaining traction within all industries as the optimum route for sustainability adherence. The methodology allows for the comprehensive quantification of impacts across multiple categories beyond simple CO2 accounting, including but not limited to acidification, ozone depletion, particulate matter, water use and land use. Minviro uses this approach to help clients from different corners of the mining and mineral processing industry recognise their projects’ environmental impact potential in high resolution, equipping them to work towards reducing or mitigating the most impactful aspects, particularly in the planning stages.
To date, Minviro has worked with rare earth element, nickel, cobalt, manganese, graphite and lithium producers, in addition to manufacturers of batteries and motors, material recycling operations and UK government bodies to produce LCA for their final products or processes.
Minviro is based in London, UK, and currently employs eight staff across the UK and USA after experiencing significant growth since inception in 2018. The Minviro team consists of geologists and engineers and cover a range of expertise fields between them, promoting a deep understanding of supply chain routes and establishing close relationships with clients whatever their project focus. The company has completed around thirty LCA consultancy projects, successfully won multiple grants from scientific and industrial funding bodies, and is nominated for Consultancy of the Year at BusinessGreen’s Leaders Awards 2021. We hope to continue expanding as a business and into different material sectors to increase our expertise portfolio, whilst leading in setting the standard for LCA practitioning in the industry.
Minviro is developing first-of-its-kind mining-focused LCA software that will allow customers to conduct LCA with their own data and in their own time. The tool, MineLCA, connects to our extensive environmental impact database to provide high quality LCA reports for mining, beneficiation, processing and refining operations for metal and mineral projects, without the need for LCA expertise. The tool can characterise up to 16 environmental impact categories, requires only simple material and energy input data, and generates visualisation and data outputs for use in ESG reporting. The tool is suitable for both project planning and ongoing operations, and provides a single-platform, easily accessible solution for sustainability metrics for raw material acquisition. As environmental regulations become increasingly prominent across the world, MineLCA assumes position as the key tool for tackling climate change head on in the mining industry by addressing raw material supply chain transparency, and placing the power to drive change in the hands of those in a position to make meaningful change.