Looking ahead, here are some of the changes – technical, cultural and operational – that will characterise the mining industry in the future in its search to address water risks.
Innovation to continue
Companies will continue to invest heavily in technology to create innovative solutions to challenges around sourcing water, decreasing water requirements and designing more effective methods of water management and treatment.
Water accounting system needed
A consistent approach to ‘water accounting’ is needed across the global mining industry to help each company understand its water needs and water footprint. For example, the Water Working Group of the Minerals Council of Australia has developed a single set of water metrics for the Australian mining industry to enable consistent reporting, benchmarking and identification of opportunities to improve water management.
Value of water to rise
The value of water will always be affected by a range of factors, including pricing policies, water treatment costs and the perceived social and environmental value of water. In addition, the monetary value of water will continue to grow, becoming an even bigger consideration as part of financial planning and feasibility studies for mining operations.
Stakeholder engagement to increase
Finally, stakeholders in the mining industry will increasingly engage in constructive dialogue with interested parties outside the industry regarding responsible water management. Such engagement will provide a means for the sector to contribute to discussions on developing regulations and standards, as well as ensuring they are operating in ways consistent with the human right to clean water.
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For further information, please contact Simon Delchar, CEO, Property, Casualty, Mining & Power on +44 (0)20 7466 6226