Mapping the spatio-temporal dynamics of urban mines and the carbon neutrality effects of their recycling

General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China2022.01-2025.12


The recycling of urban mines, which can effectively reduce waste generation, resources and energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emission, is an important way to implement circular economic policies and achieve carbon neutrality goals.
However, the deficiency of research on estimation of quantity, type, spatio-temporal dynamics, and carbon emission reduction for recycling of urban mines makes the continuous promotion of China’s urban mines exploit strategy lack
of scientific support.

The project will focus on 13 materials in 293 cities to: 1) quantify the historical development pattern of urban mines reserves based on the bottom-up accounting method, and analyze its spatial heterogeneity and the driving mechanisms; 2) simulate the stocks and flows for the whole life cycle of different materials from mining through production, consumption, discard, and recycle based on the material flow analysis and scenario prediction methods, identify the “peak” timing of material demand in cities and China, and map the spatio-temporal dynamics of urban mines; 3) identify the resource management and recycling strategies, assess the carbon emission reduction potential and carbon neutrality effects in recycling and re-production of urban mines. The results of this project will help decision-making for the realization of urban mines exploitation and carbon neutrality in China.


Material metabolism; Industrial ecology; Urban metabolism; Urban mines; Circular economy