It is a basic human right to have access to safe and clean water resources. We use water effectively and responsibly. We cooperate with local governments, communities and stakeholders when we do business in areas short of water. We try to take appropriate and feasible measures to improve water use efficiency and reduce water consumption as much as possible, including improving the recycling of water resources.

Our Goals
  • The water re-use rate shall maintain at a level no less than 90%.
    The water re-use rate shall maintain at a level no less than 90%.
    The water re-use rate shall maintain at a level no less than 90%.
  • By 2030, reduce water consumption intensity by 10% compared to 2020.
    By 2030, reduce water consumption intensity by 10% compared to 2020.
    By 2030, reduce water consumption intensity by 10% compared to 2020.
Our Performance in 2021
  • Water re-use rate 92.02%
    Water re-use rate 92.02%
  • Water consumption intensity is 269.04 tonnes/RMB million revenue, down 9.12% compared to 2020
    269.04 tonnes
    Water consumption intensity is 269.04 tonnes/RMB million revenue, down 9.12% compared to 2020
Governance & Policy

We strive to balance our operational needs with the needs of the local communities and ecosystems and to step up on water resources management in consideration of the climatic and hydrological conditions where our projects are situated. we strictly comply with the relevant national laws, regulations and local policies, 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, the Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China, as well as the General Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines, the Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines for Mining, and the Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines for Base Metal Smelting and Refining promulgated by the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”), and other water resources management laws and regulations at the places where our subsidiaries are based. 

Water Stress Risk

Before water withdrawal, the Company conducts water use analysis and assessment to analyse the current water resources development and utilisation situation in the watershed or region where the project is located, including the rationality of water use, the impact of water resources development and utilisation on water resources conditions and other resident with water withdrawal, and the water resources protection measures. We update the results of our water risks assessment annually to find out changes in water risks in the regions/water areas in which we are located, in order to formulate effective measures to reduce risks and ensure that the water resources are able to support the Company’s long-term operations and the common development of all stakeholders.

We assessed the annual water risks at our operation sites using AqueductTM Tools, a tool developed by the World Resource Initiative (WRI). It covered quantitative physical risks (e.g. baseline water stress, meteorological hazard impacts) and qualitative physical risks (water quality impacts), as well as regulatory and reputational risks.

Water Resources Management
Our water resources management plan pays special attention to solving the problem of reduction in freshwater supply to local communities and ecosystems:
  • The wastewater generated from our production is recycled in entirety to minimise the use of new water
  • Greening irrigation system is also changed to drip irrigation and micro sprinkler systems, so as to improve the water use efficiency and reduce unreasonable waste
  • In the area of heavy rainfall, through the rainwater diversion system, the clean rainwater will be discharged while the polluted rainwater flowing through the production area will be collected and treated by wastewater treatment facilities.

Internally, we continuously innovate our equipment and processes to improve the water re-use rate, maximise the use and re-use of water resources, reduce the discharge of contact water into the external environment, and utilise multiple storage facilities to collect rainwater and runoff, etc., to minimise the use of external sources of water for our operations. Externally, we work with stakeholders within the watersheds at where we operate to effectively manage the shared resources.

Wastewater Management
Our industrial wastewater is mainly generated from the mining and smelting production process. Its main pollutants include oil pollutants, metal ions, acid and alkali pollutants (copper-containing acidic wastewater), cyanide, etc. The wastewater will be discharged up to the standard after professional treatment. According to the nature of industrial wastewater, we design and optimise its treatment facilities, and on the basis of ensuring the discharge of wastewater up to the standard, recycle materials and realise the reuse of reclaimed water.
  • For wastewater treatment facilities, we implement a third-party operation and management model, and through the introduction of open and transparent market competition, we can achieve pollution control with high-efficiency, professionalism and low cost.
  • For the wastewater treatment process, the current wastewater treatment system we are using can also effectively recover metals in wastewater. After treatment process being optimised, industrial wastewater can be 100% reused by advanced treatment.
  • For the effect of wastewater treatment, in addition to daily supervision and maintenance of the operation of treatment facilities, we monitor the quality of wastewater through online real-time monitoring and third-party sampling testing to ensure that the discharge meets the standards.

We use our own "environmental protection and ecological information management platform" to monitor the pollutant discharge information and realise the timely forecast and early warning on the total amount and concentration of pollutants. We also regularly conduct internal and external environmental audits on all production and operation sites. The utilisation of wastewater is important to us. By increasing water recycling and extracting valuable substances, we reduce the discharge of pollutants. We carry out "volume reduction at source, control in the middle, and compliance at the end" for the life cycle of water from the time it enters the mine to the time it is discharged:

  • At the source, we strive to reduce water intake from external sources and make full use of rainwater collected at the mine. We "separate rainwater from wastewater". We have established a set of facilities for diversion and transportation, collection and storage, extraction and recovery, environmental protection treatment, and concentration and sedimentation of neutralised slag, etc. Through separation of rainwater and wastewater, the polluted water is collected and used for production.
  • In the middle part, we “separate highly polluted water from unpolluted or lightly polluted water, and use the water by its grade”. We treat the leached acidic wastewater containing heavy metals that flows through the mine and tailings storage facilities according to its concentration. Valuable metals are recovered from the higher concentration solution before the solution flows into the wastewater treatment facility, whereas low concentration wastewater flows directly into the wastewater treatment facility. Through neutralisation, sedimentation, and other treatment, the water is reused or discharged after reaching the required standards. The sludge and neutralised slag produced by the wastewater treatment are used to replace the soil, improve the soil quality of acidic slopes such as drainage fields and copper ore dumps, and restore ecological vegetation. This not only puts the waste slag to effective use, it also reduces the cost of improving acidic slope substrate, achieving both economic and ecological benefits.
  • At the end part, we have installed water quality online monitoring systems at all discharge points, as well as downstream of the watersheds within mining zones, and engaged qualified online monitoring operation and maintenance companies to carry out third-party operation and management. We have also implemented real-time alarm by SMS and real-time query of external wastewater quality data by an intelligent mobile management system. During the reporting period, the Company monitored all production and operation points with external wastewater discharge online and in real-time and disclosed the monitoring data. In addition, we have also built biological monitoring points along the rivers at the mines to understand the water quality by observing the physiological changes of fish at the monitoring stations.
Acid Rock Drainage Management

Metal ore may contain sulphide, and the waste rock and tailings containing sulphide will undergo a series of physical, chemical and biochemical reactions such as weathering, leaching, oxidation and hydrolysis under the action of air, water and microorganisms, thereby forming acidic wastewater with sulphuric acid. We assess mine sites that have acid rock drainage risks and develop methods to reduce the generation of such drainage based on the Global Acid Rock Wastewater Guidelines. We incorporate acid rock drainage into our overall water recycling system, recovering valuable metals from higher concentration acid rock drainage, and then neutralising it with lower concentration acid rock drainage and reusing or discharging it after the required standards are met.

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