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Water Management //

Why It Matters

Since our mining operations both consume and discharge water, we have a responsibility to use and plan water resources effectively. A reliable supply of water – in quantity and quality – is essential for mining, mineral processing, dust control and meeting the needs of our people.

Management Approach

Water Consumption

We use water in the exploration, mining, milling in our offices and campsites. We carefully consider local water supply when we plan the water requirements for developing, operating, expanding and rehabilitating our mines, and in our exploration and pre-development work. Water sources for our operations include surface water, stored rainwater and water extracted from the mining process and wet tailings.

As the climate conditions are different at each of our mines, water issues and management vary. Although we have no lack of water at our mines, we are constantly seeking opportunities to minimize freshwater use and are actively engaged with local communities in Mexico regarding the availability and optimal, efficient use of water. Our main focus is water recycling, to minimize our impact on local water resources. In fact, we recycle and reuse more than 90% of water to reduce our reliance on fresh water.

Water Discharge

Discharge and runoff from mine sites can impact water ways, so we carefully manage and monitor this issue to prevent water pollution. We rely on diversion systems, containment ponds, groundwater pumps, sub-surface drainage systems and subsurface barriers. Our Bolañitos and El Cubo mines have zero discharge into their surrounding natural environments. All water used in the mining process is collected and recycled back into the system.

As our Guanaceví mine lies below the water table, discharges of water are in accordance with regulatory requirements and corporate standards, which include consideration of aquatic and land- based ecosystem environments, as well as potential downstream community users. Guanaceví operates in a climate with abundant water, that seeps into the mine. Here, we pump fresh water from the mine, check for quality and then release it into the Guanaceví River. The released water poses no threat of negative impact and, in fact, helps keep natural waterways flowing and agricultural fields green during the dry season. We also supply water to Guanaceví for non-potable use in the community. Guanaceví has a water treatment plant for the campsite.

2018 Performance

  • Experienced an increase in water consumption from 5.13 million m3 to 5.17 million m3, with the increase mostly in fresh water (from 274,122m3 to 319,638 m3). This was largely a result of challenges with ore grade in Bolañitos, that required more water in the plant processing to achieve the targeted silver and gold recovery rate. This increase also affected the fresh water withdrawal intensity, from 0.21 m3 to 0.25 m3 per tonne of processed material, although this was still within our target range.
  • Recycled and reused more than 90% of water at all sites to reduce our reliance on fresh water, which is comparable to prior years. Our Guanaceví site leads the way at 95% as the mine uses a dry stack filter press, which been in place since 2013, This process removes water from wet tailings before depositing them in the tailings facility. This results in dry tailings, which occupy less space, improve structural integrity and extend the life of this tailings facility.

2019 Priorities

  • Maintain fresh water intensity in the ranges of 0.2 and 0.25 (amount of fresh water used per tonne of processed material)

Case Studies