Water is a shared and finite resource. We aim to preserve water sources, protect the waterways we use and support access to high-quality water.
Why this matters
Through good water management, we minimise our impact on water resources – for the benefit of local water users.
For example, we:
Reduce, reuse and recycle water
By improving our water efficiency, we reduce our impact on local water supplies, especially in areas where supply is under stress.
128 million m3
of the water we used in 2016 was recycled from on-site facilities
Number of times each drop of water is reused at Lomas Bayas in the Atacama desert, Chile
Invest in community water schemes
Through investment in water-related programmes such as wells or filtration plants, we help communities gain access to high-quality water.
For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are partnering with a public water agency to upgrade water filtering for the city of Kolwezi.
spent on community water infrastructure in 2016
Manage water-related risks
Through effective risk management, we help preserve the quality of water we release into the environment, and preserve waterways we use for transporting commodities.
360 million litres
of waste water treated each year at Oaky Creek coal mine, Queensland, Australia
How we manage water in Ulan, Australia
We seek to understand our impact on the environment – using what we learn to minimise our impacts on water sources and the shared use of water.
To achieve this, we work with local water users, host communities and governments.
We have a Group water strategy. Through this strategy, we aim to:
- Identify and assess our material water impacts, risks and opportunities
- Improve our understanding of our water footprint
- Develop and implement water management plans covering the lifecycles of each of our assets – to avoid, minimise or mitigate the impacts and risks
- Improve our water management, including identifying and setting water-related targets
- Support continued engagement with significant stakeholders, and public reporting on our progress.
Our water balance
We seek to constantly improve our understanding of our water footprint; this underpins our water management strategy.
We are working to better define the “water balance” at our assets – in other words, the water we consume, how much we withdraw from various sources, and where it goes – to support improvements in our monitoring, reporting and water management.
Principles we follow
The progress we made in 2016 includes:
- Harmonising our reporting with the of the Minerals Council of Australia – as part of our work to understand our “water balance” at each asset
- Putting in place a plan to identify and assess sites we think are “high water risk”
- Using a to assess levels of water stress.
In future, we will:
- Continue identifying high-risk sites, and assess practices at these assets to find out how we can improve. Our assets defined as “high water risk” will implement five-year targets for the years 2017–21.
- Begin a pilot study, using the ICMM’s to water management
- Define minimum water management requirements for our assets – with enhanced standards for high-risk sites.