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Water

Water is a precious shared resource with high environmental, social, cultural, and economic value.

Our work focuses on supporting the full implementation of our water reporting guidance, both by ICMM members and more widely by our industry. We will also seek to develop scalable solutions that allow for sustainable water management at both the operational and catchment levels.

Issue at a glance

  • Access to water is integral to human wellbeing, the spiritual and cultural practices of many communities, and the healthy functioning of the environment. Water is also critical to a myriad of economic activities, including the safe and effective provision of the minerals and metals we use every day.
  • Societies around the world are already facing significant water challenges. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of droughts and floods and worsen current and future stresses on water resources.
  • Mining and metals operations depends on water. This dependence can negatively impact the availability of water resources to others, including local communities. ICMM members commit to implement water stewardship practices that provide for strong and transparent water governance, and effective and efficient water management.
  • Strong and transparent corporate water governance includes publicly reporting on water performance, material risks, opportunities, and management response using consistent industry metrics and recognised approaches. Transparent reporting is critical to supporting the information needs of governments, local communities and all actors involved in sustainable resource management.

Our priorities

Apply strong and transparent corporate water governance

Globally, there is a clear call for greater transparency and disclosure on water use and management. This is especially true for the mining and metals industry, considering its high-water dependency for mineral processing, dust suppression, slurry transport and employee health. Transparent water use through external reporting is vital for building trust and positive relationships within and between sectors. It is also an important aspect of good governance by providing investors, government, local communities, and civil society with a greater line of sight over companies' water management practices. Currently, we are working with members on implementing the ICMM water reporting commitments to support transparent disclosure of water use and management.


Manage water at operations effectively

There is increasing pressure on the industry to identify and implement improved operational practices that reduce water use, increase efficiency, and eliminate environmental impacts. In this space, we are working to promote operational and technological innovations by sharing approaches that promote effective management of water at operations and the facilitation of collaborative opportunities with key stakeholders to advance water stewardship.


Collaborate to achieve responsible and sustainable water use

The catchment-based approach encourages collaboration between sectors and society to improve the stewardship of shared water resources, and direct efforts and resources on delivering positive benefits for people and the planet. As a large water user the mining and metals industry has a particular responsibility to engage proactively with other water users to maximise responsible water usage, at ICMM we are working with members to enable dialogue and build trust with key stakeholders.