Methodological Issues for Estimating the Total Value of the Rehabilitation of Mining Fields: the Case of S. Domingo’s Mine
The rehabilitation of abandoned mining fields is perceived by locals as of great value for nurturing the sustainable development of socio-economically depressed regions, as it is characteristic of regions home to abandoned mines. One way of contributing towards the success of such rehabilitation projects is to evaluate their total economic value. In this paper we discuss the use of a contingent valuation methodology as the most appropriate to estimate the total economic value that the rehabilitation of the abandoned S. Domingos Mine will generate. We seek to provide a preliminary discussion of some key aspects essential to design a convincing stated preference methodological framework, enabling us to further estimate a valid and reliable money measure for the total benefits of the rehabilitation process. Such money measure should be an additional incentive towards the commitment of local authorities and stakeholders towards the project and the overall acceptance and recognition of its environmental and social value by society (besides the more obvious market economic value). Furthermore, the elicitation of the nonmarket benefits of the rehabilitation can be used subsequently for a Cost-Benefit Analysis, enabling public authorities to take truly sustainable local development decisions promoting development in accordance with the Triple-Bottom-Line framework.