Impacts on water quality and quantity are among the most controversial aspects of mining projects. ICMM hopes well-designed and executed water stewardship strategies will build trust between miners and communities.
The International Council on Mining & Metals launched its new Water stewardship framework Tuesday as Ross Hamilton, ICMM director for environment and climate change, presented the framework at the United Nations CEO Water Mandate meeting in Lima, Peru.
“Water is one of the most significant issues facing the mining and metals industry,” Hamilton said. “It is a critical resource not only for all of our members’ operations but also for other industries, communities and the natural environment.
ICMM’s Water stewardship framework is built around four key elements including: be transparent and accountable’ engage proactively and inclusively; adopt a catchment-based approach; and effective water resource management.
The Water stewardship framework outlines a standardized approach for the mining and metals industry, “recognizing that water connects an operation to the surrounding landscape and communities,” said the ICMM.
The framework urges mining companies to “publicly report material water risks, management activities and performance,” as well as “engage stakeholders in an open and transparent manner to understand their priorities, share plans and collaborate on solutions.”
Mining companies should strive to “understand the social, cultural, economic and environmental value of water at the catchment scale to identify material water stewardship risks and provide context for corporate and operational water management,” said the document.
The two page framework document defines effective water resource management as managing “operational water quality (quantity and quality) inputs, use and outputs to maximize resource sustainability, operational flexibility and economic benefit.”
In 2009, ICMM established a water working group to consider water issues that the sector faces and ways in which the industry can respond.
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