Water is one of the most valuable resources in mining. We extract water from underground aquifers and fractured rock aquifers to access the orebody, process copper concentrate, suppress dust, provide drinking water and ensure the health and wellbeing of our workforce.
Our water activities are regulated by relevant State legislation through operating licences and approvals which have set quality and quantity thresholds. We use regulatory licence requirements and Australian Standards to inform our water management approach and report to the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on water abstraction and discharge through the Annual Aquifer Review and Annual Environmental Report.
Our DeGrussa and Monty mines are located in an arid environment, experiencing low rainfall and regular droughts, and as such they are classified as having a high overall water risk. To manage this risk effectively, we adopt the following management practices:
- monitoring water abstraction, usage and discharge
- reviewing site water balances
- ensuring compliance with environmental licences for abstraction and discharge
Where possible we attempt to reuse and recycle water. We achieve this by recirculating water from our tailings storage facility through the processing plant. Both DeGrussa and Monty conduct dewatering activities of local fractured aquifers to ensure safe mining operations. Water is reused on site for drilling, processing and dust suppression, and any excess water is discharged to ephemeral creek lines under Environmental Protection Act licences.