Water Scarcity in Mining

Water management

Water Scarcity in Mining

Summary: Without water there could be no mining. Water management is becoming a growing challenge for mining operations that are threatened by water scarcity. This ­situation is confronting numerous mining operations and new projects in countries like ­Australia, South Africa, Chile and Peru. This article describes the problems, discusses the consequences and the investments, and explains various case examples.

1 Introduction

At the present time, more than one billion human beings are living in regions that are suffering from water shortages. Forecasts predict that by the year 2030 this number will have increased to over four billion. Agriculture and irrigation account for around 69 % of global water consumption, industries for 18 %, and humans’ drinking and domestic water usage for 13 %.

With its estimated share of <1 %, the mining industry is responsible for a comparatively small part of the global water consumption. Higher water consumption rates are shown by the power generation industry, the...

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