Optimising Water Management in Mining: The BT Industrial Approach

In an industry where prudent water management is paramount, mining operations globally consume a staggering 4 to 7 billion cm3 of water per year. Considering this scale, even a seemingly minor inefficiency—such as leaks accounting for water losses of 10% to 15%—can translate into significant costs and environmental repercussions.

The Financial Drain of Water Mismanagement

For mining companies, water is not merely an operational input; it’s a critical strategic asset. Take, for instance, the high costs of water treatment. Treating mine water to potable or irrigation quality is an expense that can’t be ignored. In South Africa’s Upper Vaal area, transforming water to potable quality was estimated to require a capital cost of R528.5 million (ZAR 2011). And that’s just the upfront cost; operational costs stack up quickly. Furthermore, these costs are not limited to finances. A poorly managed water system is prone to leaks, which, beyond the direct loss of water, can severely strain a company’s relations with local communities and governmental bodies. The social, environmental, and regulatory risks are high, and the total cost of ownership (TOC) can soar unexpectedly.

When Supply Can’t Meet Demand

Operational disruptions due to water scarcity are a stark reality for the mining sector. For example, the severe drought in Chile in 2022 significantly impacted mining operations, causing a drop in production by up to 24%. When the taps run dry, operations grind to a halt—and with them, revenue streams.

A Partner in Resilience: BT Industrial’s Solution

BT Industrial, a leader in Pipe System Design and Engineering, understands the stakes. They offer a comprehensive approach that addresses each of these challenges head-on. By prioritising Return on Investment (ROI) and sustainability, BT Industrial designs systems that are not only cost-effective but environmentally responsible. Their long coils, for instance, reduce the number of joints by a factor of five, significantly decreasing the likelihood of leaks and associated water loss. These optimized designs contribute meaningfully to reducing a mine’s overall carbon footprint.

Beyond Costs: Elevating ESG Scores

In today’s investment climate, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scores are more than a badge—they’re a necessity for attracting and retaining capital. Poor water management, reflected in lower ESG scores, can spook investors, impacting a company’s ability to secure funding. BT Industrial designs water management systems that can improve a company’s ESG ratings, turning a potential liability into a compelling asset for investors.

Cutting Costs Without Cutting Corners

The savings don’t stop at water. BT Industrial’s data-driven designs can help avoid over-specification of piping systems, which can compose up to 20% of a mine’s CAPEX. For many mines, avoiding over-specification can lead to savings of up to 30% on this line item alone—without compromising on system reliability or longevity. In Africa’s harsh conditions, where oxidative and chemical degradation can lead to premature pipe system failure, BT Industrial’s choices of materials are designed for durability, further driving down maintenance costs and ensuring that systems meet or exceed their design life.

The Bottom Line

For mining operations, the message is clear: effective water management is not a luxury—it’s a necessity that impacts the bottom line, the environment, and the social license to operate. In this critical mission, BT Industrial stands as a partner that mines can rely on, offering tailored solutions that increase ROI, reduce TOC, and bolster ESG scores.

In an era where every drop of water counts, BT Industrial’s Pipe System Design and Engineering services offer the mining sector a path to not just sustainability, but profitability and resilience in the face of growing challenges.

Contact BT Industrial today to learn how they can make your mining operations more sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective.

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