- 2014 Performance
- Future Focus
Our commitment to create a positive water stewardship legacy in our host communities is stated in our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy. Guiding our approach to fulfilling this commitment is our Water Management Standard, which sets the minimum requirements to proactively plan, manage and monitor our performance throughout the mine lifecycle to protect human health, the environment and water resources.
Our global water strategy, which was implemented in 2014, provides guidance to our regions and sites to become better stewards of water by managing and mitigating water risks and more clearly linking the technical and operational aspects of water management with our long-term strategic and social responsibility objectives.
Water Accounting Framework
Each of our operating sites – and each community in which we operate – has different water needs and challenges depending on the supply, demand and water quality within the watershed. Because our operations are located in some areas where water is scarce and other areas where water is a surplus, in 2014 each site developed a water management charter and plan using an integrated, basin-wide approach that addresses stakeholder and mine water needs and meets all applicable laws and regulations. The charters map out a strategic plan to improve water management at all our sites over the next three to five years.
To apply a more consistent approach for defining, measuring and reporting our water use and comparing our performance to others in the mineral industry, we are creating a water accounting system that is consistent with the Minerals Council of Australia’s (MCA) Water Accounting Framework (WAF). We set external targets for sites to create WAFs that will inform and measure their performance against site-specific water strategy action plans.
As managers of large volumes of water, whenever possible, our operations use saline or non-potable water, such as sea water at Batu Hijau and saline groundwater at KCGM. We aim to reduce fresh water consumption in ore processing by recycling and reusing water on site to the greatest extent possible.
For example, three of our operations – Boddington in Australia and Phoenix and Lone Tree in Nevada – currently are considered zero discharge mines that strive to balance makeup water with actual process needs.
For our remaining nine operations that discharge water, we treat the water to meet the applicable water quality standards and regulatory and permitting requirements before safely discharging the water back into the environment. As part of the global water strategy, our sites will evaluate opportunities for the best available use of the discharged water.
In addition to our annual sustainability report, we disclose our water management performance in the CDP’s annual Global Water Report and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The detailed CDP water performance is expected to be made publicly available beginning in 2016.