Mining operations require vast quantities of water to run ore processing facilities and thus have a responsibility to manage this critical resource. Operations are often located in areas of limited water supply, which may create a competitive\ climate for water consumption. Make-up water for mineral processing can represent a significant portion of production cost for mining companies. While necessary for mining, water in open pits is problematic for extraction activities and leads to increased operational and maintenance costs. This paper analyses the operational and financial impacts of water at three copper mines. Potential options to improve reclaim and pit dewatering volumes are evaluated with the objective to reduce operational costs and water losses. The evaluation of these options integrates Teck’s sustainability strategy and considers water regulations currently changing in Canada and Chile. This paper concludes with the advantages of maximizing open pit dewatering to reduce make-up water requirements, and thus reduce mining production costs.
EMBA Project - Simon Fraser University
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