Production activities such as mining, ore-processing and smelting have a strong dependency on water resources. Having clean and safe water resources is crucial for our production and the lives of surrounding communities. Typically, our water sources include surface water, mine water and municipal water, etc. We realise that excessive water consumption will affect the surrounding communities and the environment. Therefore, in the process of production and operation, we place great importance on and continuously improve water resource management and enhance water utilisation to reduce negative impacts on local water resources resulting from our operations.

Targets and Progress
  • To maintain our overall water re-use rate of no less than 90%
  • To reduce water intensity by 10% from 2020 by 2030
  • Progress in 2023
  • Progress in the past
  • 66.13
    Total water withdrawal was 66.13 million tonnes
    Water re-use rate reached 94.80%
    The water intensity by revenue was 225.00 tonnes/RMB million, a decrease of 23.99%from 2020.
    取水量 单位 2022 2021 2020
    1 2 3 4 5
    1 2 3 4 5
Our Approach

We strictly abide by the laws, regulations and local policies of the host countries, such as the “Water Law of the People's Republic of China”, the “Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law of the People's Republic of China”, and the “Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China”. We also follow international initiatives and standards such as the “Environment, Health, and Safety General Guidelines”, “Mining Industry Environment, Health, and Safety Guidelines”, and “Basic Metal Smelting Industry Environment, Health, and Safety Guidelines” published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). We conduct our business according to the principle of striving for excellence. During the reporting period, we had no significant incidents related to water withdrawal or discharge.

Our commitment to responsible water consumption is enshrined in our "Policy Statement on Water Resources Management", which explicitly states that the Company's Board and management team are responsible for water resource management strategies and performance, and that water resource management is incorporated in our business planning. We established necessary communication mechanisms with affected communities and stakeholders to effectively manage and share water resources and maintain the water balance of the whole basin.

Water Security Risk

We used AqueductTM Water Risk Atlas, a tool developed by World Resources Initiative (WRI), to conduct annual water risk analysis for 45 subsidiaries, covering physical risk indicators affecting water volume (such as baseline water stress, interannual variability, seasonal variability and drought risk), physical risk indicators affecting water quality (such as untreated wastewater and coastal eutrophication trends), and regulatory and reputational risk indicators (such as drinking water issues and sanitation issues), and adjusting the evaluation results based on each asset’s exposure risk coefficient to water stress.We will regularly evaluate the impacts of water resources and water availability at local level on stakeholders, so that we can ensure that water withdrawals during our operations will not affect their water demand.

We conducted a detailed evaluation of the water risk and water stress analysis and found that the actual risks of these assets in high-risk areas are controllable and will not have a significant impact on production and operation. In addition, we conducted a multi-scenario assessment of our water security risks based on the impact of climate change on the environment according to multiple time spans (for specific assessment results, please refer to Our “Climate Change Action Plan”).

  • Areas with high precipitation
    We address the large amount of pollutants dissolved in the initial rainwater through the pollutant removaland diversion system, with a focus on flood control facilities to prevent the risk of pollutant spillage and dam failure caused by heavy rain.
  • Areas with a scarcity of water
    We pay attention to the freshwater supply of local communities and ecosystems, continuously strengthening water recycling capabilities and minimising freshwater consumption; we also provide assistance to surrounding communities in terms of water withdrawal and purification facilities to alleviate local water stress.
  • Climate change and extreme weather
    Climate change may lead to unpredictable changes in the water environment of the regions. Therefore, all of our flood control projects are designed and constructed with the capacity to withstand once-in-a-century or more severe disasters, and we have developed contingency plans for extreme weather incidents.
Life-cycle Water Management
Zijin Mining's Water Cycle System
Water Withdrawal and Consumption

To ensure that the impact of our activities on water resources is minimised and to ensure the security of the rivers and groundwater sources in mine areas, we locate our sites far away from the water sources or the upstream of the rivers. All subsidiaries are required to monitor the water quality of surrounding areas at least on a quarterly basis, increase control over river water quality, and protect the quality and quantity of water available to local communities and other residents in the river basin. We have developed a series of management measures to protect the water resources of the mine areas:

Water Quality Monitoring

We require all subsidiaries to:

 Set up groundwater monitoring wells in mining areas, surrounding waters and key locations (such as upstream and downstream of tailings storage facilities, landfill sites, etc.) on a quarterly basis at the minimum.

 Install online monitoring systems at all discharge outlets

 Network with the local environmental protection department to achieve real-time monitoring and respond promptly to changes in water quality. All subsidiaries with drainage processes were fully covered with online water quality monitoring

Water Environment Security

We require all subsidiaries to:

 Strictly comply with the regulations of each region for waterproofing treatment for reservoirs, tailings storage facilities, heap leaching sites,etc. 

 Establish diversion facilities to collect rainwaterSet up physical procedures or measures such as seep-proof walls to protect the rivers and groundwater resources of mine areas from being polluted

Model-based Management

We use the "Water Balance Model" in each mining area to plan water management. By predicting the annual water withdrawal, consumption and discharge of the mining area, we conduct water resource-related risk management, and adjust water consumption plans scientifically.

Analysis and Assessment

We require all subsidiaries to:

 Conduct water consumption analysis and assessment prior to water withdrawal

 Prepare a “Water Resources Justification Report” when withdrawing water directly from rivers, lakes or underground

Assess the impact of water withdrawal and discharge on surrounding communities and other stakeholders

  • Improving Source Water Efficiency
    We take source control and optimisation measures for our acid mine wastewater and recycling measures for beneficiation wastewater and smelting wastewater. We implemented the Drainage Reduction System Project in Urad Rear Banner Zijin.
  • Innovating Water Management Technologies
    We promote advanced water management technologies, such as the deep treatment and recycling technology for heavy metal wastewater in non-ferrous smelting, circulation utilisation technology for high saline wastewater in hydrometallurgy, and treatment and resource utilisation of acidic wastewater in heavy metal metallurgy to effectively improve water recycling and reducing wastewater discharge.
  • Digitalisation
    We achieve deep coupling between the industrial water systems and digitalisation, and use data efficiently to optimise water management technology, further reduce the consumption of fresh water and maximise water use efficiency.
Wastewater Treatment

Our wastewater mainly generated in the processes of mining, metal smelting and processing. Pollutants in the wastewater include acidic and alkaline pollutants, oil pollutants, various heavy metals, cyanide, fluoride and other substances that pose environmental risks. Without reliable treatment and monitoring of wastewater, the pollutants in the wastewater will have a significant impact on the environment on which we and the surrounding communities depend for survival. For this reason, we regard wastewater management as one of the core issues in the construction of production facilities at all operating sites, and continue to be on full alert during operation.

We use our "Environmental Protection and Ecological Information Management Platform" for real-time online monitoring of the information about the total volume of pollutants and pollutant discharged so as to achieve the timely forecasting and early warning of the total volume and concentration of wastewater discharged. We follow the principles of "Rainwater and Sewage Diversion, Clean and Sewage Diversion, Source Reduction, Classified Collection, Treatment Depending on Quality, and Circular Utilisation" to recycle and treat industrial wastewater, domestic sewage, and rainwater separately, ensuring the sufficient utilisation of water resources and meeting the requirements of water cycle management throughout mining life cycle.

Acid Rock Drainage (ARD)

Regarding acid rock drainage (ARD), we worked with external experts to assess and develop methods to reduce ARD generation in mining areas where it may occur based on the “Global Acid Rock Drainage Guidelines”. We incorporate ARD into our overall water cycle system, recovering valuable metals from higher-concentration ARD and then neutralising it with low-concentration ARD, to re-use or discharge it after it meets the standards.

We will only proceed mining development activities if closure planning conducted during the feasibility phase demonstrates that ARD can be managed from both technical and economic perspective.