Global Assessments of the Interactions between the Mining Industry and Water Resources

Stephen Alan Northey, Gavin Mark Mudd, Nawshad Haque, Mohan Yellishetty, Timothy Werner

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Mining activities are often viewed as a major risk to water resources due to the potential for adverse impacts that can arise from altered water quality and local hydrology. What is perhaps less recognised by the general public is that the local water and climate context that a mine operates within can also present a range of risks to the operation itself, such as: the potential for water shortages, flooding and uncontrolled discharges. Addressing these risks requires careful planning and management by mining companies to ensure that adverse impacts to the mining operation, as well as surrounding environments and communities, are avoided and that best practice outcomes can be achieved. Due to water management practices at mine sites being tailored to the specific hydrology, climate, topography and ore processing requirements of the operation, there is considerable variability in water consumption and water use efficiency throughout the mining industry. Many studies have assessed how an individual mine site is expected to interact with local water resources, however there are comparatively few studies that have addressed how the mining industry as a whole interacts with water resources.
In this presentation, an overview will be provided of the current state of understanding of how the global mining industry interacts with water resources. Detailed statistics will be shown highlighting the variability and magnitude of water withdrawals, consumption, reuse and discharges of operations across the global mining industry. Additionally, global spatial assessments showing the exposure of the mining industry to water scarcity and climate risks will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2018
EventResources for Future Generations (RFG 2018) - Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 16 Jun 201821 Jun 2018
Conference number: 1st


ConferenceResources for Future Generations (RFG 2018)
Abbreviated titleRFG 2018
Internet address


  • Mining
  • Water Resources
  • Water Scarcity
  • Climate Change

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