Authors: Tami Haase, Ben Hannah, Gomes Ganapathy, Lucy Martin, Cathy Madore, Francisca Labarca, Marisol Uriarte

Bechtel’s Mining & Metals projects across the globe are executed in remote arid and semi-arid countries where providing even basic water supplies impose considerable challenges. Opportunities for water conservation measures using a Six Sigma initiative were proactively pursued to address the potential businesses impacts of limited availability of water resources. The initiative investigated areas driving water-optimisation during concrete operations and camp management.

This paper details the water conservation evaluation of alternatives and cost/benefit analysis based on current and predicted water usage for mine development projects. Optimisation of water consumption through institutionalising more prescriptive standards for camp design and defining water conservation requirements have resulted in a new standard specification. Based on our projected mining project workload across the globe, it is estimated that for the period 2012 -2015, a potential 5.5 M m3 water savings resulting in $11 M USD could be realised for construction camps and savings of 4 M m3 of peripheral concrete process water resulting in potential cost savings of $8 M USD could be achieved as a result of these revised standards.

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