Water is a shared, vital and increasingly scarce resource and also a critical input for mining activities. If a mine does not manage its activities and water use adequately this can impact on the quality and quantity of water available to other users, damage social license and risk potential fines for legal non-compliance.
Centamin’s water management strategy ensures that water is used within the parameters of our permitting requirements and as efficiently as possible by minimising the volume of imported water, maximizing the amount of reused water, and managing the potential impact on other water users in our host countries and communities.
Centamin’s projects are plotted on the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct water risk atlas to understand how current and long-term water-related risks may impact the business and ensure that effective water management plans can be developed and put in place.
Access to fresh water at Sukari is highly constrained by extremely low rainfall, and minimal surface and groundwater supplies. The bulk of water for Sukari (98%) is drawn from the Red Sea and is pumped to the mine site via a 25 km pipeline. To minimise the need for desalination, which is both energy-intensive and costly, the process plant was purposely designed to use salt water.
Sukari operates a closed-circuit system and does not discharge water to the environment. Wastewater is re-used through the plant and for dust suppression. There are strong commercial drivers to maximising water reuse due to the high cost of drawing raw water from the Red Sea and the operation of the desalination plant.
We measure our performance using several key indicators including water quality, rate of reuse and water intensity. To calculate our water intensity, we use water withdrawn per kilotonnes of ore milled. Our water reporting is aligned with the guidelines of the International Council on Mining and Metals (“ICMM”) Guide to Water Reporting.