As part of our environmental management, Alcoa is focused on developing better ways to ensure a sustainable future. We are committed to using fewer resources, protecting resources for which we are responsible, reducing our emissions and wastes and reusing and recycling materials including water.
Alcoa draws water from Darling Range surface water sources under licences issued by the Department of Water (DoW). Additional water is gathered at both mines by collecting and recycling stormwater runoff and treated wastewater. Approximately 80% of water used at the mines is for haul road dust suppression. Other uses include vehicle and equipment cleaning, drinking water, crusher plant cleaning and dust control, garden reticulation, toilet and shower facilities and fire control.
Alcoa uses two types of water supply, licensed or “competitive” sources and non-licensed or “non-competitive” sources. Licensed water sources are those licensed by the DEC and is generally high quality water. Non-licensed sources are not licensed by the DEC and the water is lower quality such as harvested stormwater or recycled waste water. Alcoa aims to minimise its use of licensed water supply while maximising harvesting of non-licensed water.
Alcoa is committed to minimising water use at the mines and has implemented a number of initiatives to minimise water consumption and to improve water use efficiency. These include:
- Trialling and use of dust suppressants on haul roads;
- Mine planning to reduce haul distance in summer;
- Modifying spray bars on water carts to optimise the rate and distribution of water applications;
- Deploying water conservation training packages to all mining staff;
- Reducing water used for conveyor belt washing; and
- Design and construction of a tractor mounted mobile standpipe to maximise water recovery from haul road sumps.
As a result of these initiatives water use efficiency at the mines has gradually improved since 2000. Increased water use during the construction of the new McCoy crusher and workshop facilities resulted in an increased water usage rate at the Huntly Mine in 2003 and 2004. Water usage has decreased since 2005 onwards, particularly with the establishment of new water harvesting and recycling facilities at McCoy.
In 2007, the McCoy facility won the Department of Water and Water Corporation Water Recycling (Commercial Project) Award and was a finalist for the Water Conservation and Efficiency Award. This award recognises Alcoa’s contribution to the improved use of WA’s valuable water sources. The McCoy facility was designed to maximise water harvesting and recycling.
Water Management Fact Sheet
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