Providing water for a mine

An editorial by Noel Dyson in the December 2019 issue of Australia’s Mining Monthly discussed the importance of water in mining activities, including the impact of mining on sources of water, the associated effects on approvals for new mines, and the implications for mine water management. Dyson said:

There is already a lot of work being done to reduce the amount of water being used in mining. What is becoming clear is that there needs to be more. There have been big advances in countries such as Chile, where access to water is an even bigger issue than it is in Australia … We certainly need to do something because it is becoming easier for authorities to say no to new mining projects based on where their water comes from.

This prompted us to revisit a case study that appeared initially in our book:

Cooper, DF, PM Bosnich, SJ Grey, G Purdy, GA Raymond, PR Walker and MJ Wood (2014) Project Risk Management Guidelines: Managing Risk with ISO 31000 and IEC 62198. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester. ISBN 978 1 118 82031 5.

A preliminary hazard and operability (HAZOP) study of a mine expansion project identified potentially major risks associated with a large water pipeline near a village. A simple scenario-based risk assessment, conducted quickly by a small team, generated a range of improvement options for pipeline design and construction.

The case shows that simple approaches can generate excellent results when used appropriately. It is important not to short-cut the risk management process by eliminating any of the steps, but the steps themselves can be tailored according to the project’s scope and need.

Read the full case study here.