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Clean water and sanitation for all: How ICMM members are taking action on sustainable water use

Water is a precious resource. Mining operations require water, but operational needs must be balanced with the needs of local ecosystems and communities.

It is critical that water is managed carefully and sustainably, and with transparent sharing of information to all stakeholders.

ICMM members are committed to assessing and addressing the risks and impacts on the quality and quantity of their water supplies, collaborating to ensure that the health and economic prosperity of communities is paramount when considering any action that might impact water resources.

Helping lives and livelihoods in Puno, Peru

The region of Puno in Peru is blessed with significant access to water reserves, thanks to its proximity to the Lake Titicaca Basin. However, climate change and pollution from untreated domestic wastewater amongst other factors is putting pressure on the supply of clean water.

Climate change is prolonging droughts in the region, with severe impacts on livestock and agriculture, which thousands of families rely on for their livelihoods.

To preserve vital water resources, Minsur - which operates a mine in the region - is collaborating with local communities on a number of water infrastructure projects.

This includes reservoirs, water dams and irrigation channels, which supply water to thousands of hectares of grasslands to feed livestock.

Minsur has funded 32 communal dams and 224 family reservoirs to date, which can irrigate 1,742 hectares of land.

Fresh drinking water in the DRC

At the Kibali Gold Mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Barrick has drilled over 100 new boreholes and upgraded many more to provide ready access to water for local communities.

The nearby city of Durba is also benefitting from a collaboration between Barrick’s Kibali mine and the local Community Development Committee to invest in a new water distribution project for local residents. This project pumps and purifies water from nearby hills to a network of 40 water fountains in the city.

Collaboration is core to this water distribution project, with 13 local suppliers, an NGO, and local industry being engaged throughout. The management of the fountains themselves have also been appointed to local companies, helping to spread the benefits delivered by the project.

Landscape restoration in Arizona

In the Americas, Freeport-McMoRan is conducting site-specific, multi-year biodiversity programmes. These are tailored to tackle the most important biodiversity issues at each site.

The health of the Gila River in Arizona is vital for the wildlife, plants and people that rely on its water. At its nearby Safford Mine in Graham County, Freeport-McMoRan is collaborating with the Gila Watershed Partnership on restoration planting as part of the Upper Gila Watershed Riparian Restoration Project.

The work is ongoing and, in 2022 alone, more than 100 native trees, shrubs and grasses were planted in the Pima area with the primary aim to increase the health of the Gila River.  Planting native trees will help restore quality wildlife habitat, reduce the harmful impacts of the invasive salt cedar trees, and create a more resilient ecosystem to flooding and environmental change.

Together, these examples demonstrate the different ways in which ICMM members are taking action on sustainable water use. Water is a crucial resource and responsible mining companies are collaborating with local communities, governments and NGOs to improve water management and access.