Mining and Water – inextricably linked

The sheer quantity and requirements for water for mining operations is staggering. Water desalination plants are essential tools in the challenges faced by most of the mining sector worldwide.

mining companies and their need for water,

The demand for water to support mining operations in most areas and particularly remote areas represents a significant challenge to all mineral companies operating around the world.  This is even more crucial with more infrastructure and mining companies becoming involved in supplying water to their accompanying local communities and rural industries. Sustainable development becomes an issue  for a number of reasons, including ongoing expansion to mining company operations, the world’s demand for more and more mined material,  the continuing drain on our energy resources, and climate change – if you are a supporter of this concept.


One example of the volume of water required to mine coal is reflected in recent mining statistics, that approximately 200 litres of fresh water can be consumed for every tonne of coal produced. Mining companies do manage the transformation of the fresh water to waste water which is then recycled through their mines systems in place to maximise the use of water – again, and again.


However, water availability is one of the limiting factors on development and when coupled with the additional problem of safe disposal of waste water that can no longer be recycled effectively, the challenges are huge.


There are hundreds and thousands of mines worldwide having been abandoned for any number of reasons, including lack of water, inability to drain the waste water to ‘somewhere’ effectively and efficiently, or water being too costly to use even if it is available, so the mines cannot continue to operate viably.  It is no wonder that mining companies are proactively seeking alternative solutions to using fresh water in the same quantities as before and searching for solutions that are environmentally friendly for treatment and disposal of waste water.


Help is at hand for the mining sector with new technology designed to maximise the use of fresh water. New water desalination techniques and waste water treatment options are being released and will be eagerly sought by mining, oil and gas companies the world over in their quest to solve their ongoing water need – and problem.


2 responses to “Mining and Water – inextricably linked”

  1. Prices says:

    I suggest adding a “google+” button for the blog!

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