Water scarcity tops list of world miners’ worries – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – February 7, 2017)


CAPE TOWN – The world’s top mining companies warned on Tuesday that assets will be stranded and investors will walk away unless they deal with water scarcity in key mining regions such as Africa, Australia and Latin America.

After the hottest global year on record in 2016, water has shot up the agenda at mining board meetings. “Investors say to us: ‘don’t talk to us about returns’; they want to know how we’re managing water,” Nick Holland, Chief Executive Officer of Gold Fields, said at an international mining conference in Cape Town.

Mining requires water at almost every stage of the process and the bulk of the assets of major mining companies are in water-stressed regions mostly in the southern hemisphere.

Anglo American has said it is striving to use as little water as possible. It has limited water consumption by using 65 percent recycled water and its goal is to reach 95 percent over the next decade.

“Water is one of the greatest constraints to new supply of mined products across the industry,” Anglo American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani said.

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