The Bisha Mine is located in a semi-arid ecosystem, and accordingly, careful water stewardship is one of our most pressing economic, environmental, and social issues. Water is not only critical to mining operations, but access to water is an essential human right, as well as being essential to maintaining healthy ecosystems. We continually look for ways to minimize fresh water use and maximize water recycling to protect surrounding habitats and community water sources. We periodically review our mine water plan, monitor our daily water balance and consumption, and conduct regular water monitoring.
In 2014, we extracted a total of 1.93 million cubic metres (m3 ) of water for Bisha Mine operations compared to 1.5 million m3 in 2013 (a 29% increase). The increase was the result of higher water demand to process copper concentrate, as well as additional water used during the capital expansion program for the zinc plant.
All water used at the mine is drawn from groundwater resources (primarily the Mogoraib aquifer, as well as a lesser amount from dewatering the mine pit located in the Freketetet aquifer and an aquifer near the Harena pit). Rainfall also contributes to limited water resources, primarily supporting rehabilitation activities. Both the Company and two local communities (Mogoraib and Aderat) rely on the same aquifer located along the Mogoraib River. The remaining two aquifers supplying BMSC are not shared with any community due to distance.