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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.