Articles to keep you informed


Articles on Hydraulic Breakers and Drifters

Water scarcity – how the mining sector is handling it

The mining sector will need to strategise and implement practical steps to reduce its water consumption.

The recent drought that has reduced dam levels to record lows and resulted in municipal water restrictions across the country, serves as a stark reminder: South Africa is a semi-arid country, and water is in shorter supply.

With the national water supply likely to remain tight even as the drought eases, the mining sector will need to strategise and implement practical steps to reduce its water consumption.

Looking abroad for water-saving ideas

According to a recent report by the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), resource firms around the world are working together to solve the problem of water shortages, which may turn out to be the biggest economic challenge of the 21st century.

Here are some  facts about water use that every mining firm needs to bear in mind.

  • Water shortages are increasing – and 70% of major mines are located in water-poor regions
  • Water has become an asset – access to water may become as important as obtaining mining rights on deposit-rich land
  • Water is expensive – and the cost of using it is not likely to go down any time soon
  • Water is a major cause of conflict – the number of water-related disputes between mining companies and society are growing annually
  • Citizens are more active than ever on water issues – and mining companies will have to engage with them
  • Disclosure is being demanded – any mining activities that use water or impact on water quality may need to be explained to the public and the authorities
  • Mines aren’t the only water users – the mining, industrial, commercial and residential players in every community need to assess their water usage and keep it at sustainable levels

Looking at this list, one thing is clear – water is a dwindling resource across the globe, and mining companies will need to work together with other water users to ensure a sustainable water future.

The 6 steps for sustainable water management

The ICMM report outlines 6 steps that the mining industry could adopt to ensure water sustainabilty:

  • Act transparently and with accountability
  • Comply with national law and international standards
  • Engage proactively and inclusively
  • Manage and conserve water resources effectively
  • Create positive impacts
  • Support local water infrastructure and services

By working with local communities as a partner – instead of as an opponent – mining companies will be able to ensure a steady supply of water while developing lasting goodwill and partnerships with the people and organisations around them.