In the mining industry, a push in recent years for more sustainable practices is driving a growing need for water treatment.
With conversations around climate change, water scarcity, use of natural resources and fracking now mainstream, mining operations have more pressure than ever to consider better reuse and conservation of water. Today’s water treatment technology is rising to the occasion, offering the mining industry long-term solutions that are ultimately better for the environment and for business.
Given current social pressures and environmental concerns, water treatment products are seeing considerable growth in the mining sector. According to a 2019 Frost & Sullivan report on growth opportunities for sustainable solutions in the mining industry, the global mining water and wastewater treatment market is expected to expand at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 11 percent by 2023. According to the report, water sustainability in mining is becoming an industry standard, with strategies including lowering water consumption, engaging in water recycling initiatives and zero waste discharge, and adopting smart solutions and advanced treatment technologies.
A quality water treatment system can help mining operations reduce their impact on the environment by reducing the amount of harmful discharge into the surrounding area. Untreated mining effluents, sludge and discharge can be highly saline, acidic and filled with suspended solids that can damage downstream bodies of water and pose a threat to wildlife. Depending on the type of mining, wastewater can be filled with detrimental elements like heavy metals, arsenic, iron and manganese.
Along with the environmental benefits, reducing mining discharge can also be a legal issue, as wastewater discharge regulations become increasingly stringent. Groundwater and surface water near mining sites is closely monitored and mining facilities are under pressure to implement strict water management plans to meet regulatory requirements.
Treating water rather than disposing of it also brings opportunities for reuse, which can ultimately reduce the amount of water used on a mining project and save money in the long run. For these reasons and more, mining operations have a strong incentive to invest in better water treatment solutions that limit toxic discharge and allow for more efficiency through reuse.
A poor water treatment system on a mining site can be devastating for the companies involved and the surrounding ecosystem. Reliable water strategies ensure minimal harm to the environment and maximum benefit to the mining industry.