Anglo American has commissioned a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plant at the Aquila metallurgical coal project in the Bowen Basin, Queensland.
The company is planning to install another RO plant, with both designed to reduce the use of fresh water in mining operations.
Anglo American plans to halve its fresh water usage by 2030.
Anglo American metallurgical coal business chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson stated two megalitres per day of mine affected water was being treated.
“A key target in Anglo American’s global sustainable mining plan is to reduce our reliance on fresh water by 50 percent by 2030 across our mine sites, and I’m pleased to say Aquila is currently sourcing recycled water during construction of the mine,” he said.
“A planned second RO plant will to be used to recycle a further 2.4 megalitres of mine affected water – once Aquila becomes operational in early 2022, more than doubling capacity and helping to reduce the reliance on water from local sources during times of drought.”
The water treatment plant at the $240 million Aquila mine is valued at $5 million.
Mitchelson stated that the Aquila project would exhibit Anglo American’s focus on sustainability and support 500 jobs.
“Aquila will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced underground mines and will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining,” he said.
The Aquila project is expected to increase the life of Anglo American’s existing underground operations at the Capcoal complex.
Anglo American invested 77 per cent ($2.83 billion) of its total expenditure in Australia with Queensland suppliers during the last financial year.
“Our Aquila project is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners. More than 90 per cent of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers,” he said.
“Aquila’s integrated network of pipes and pumps is securing the distribution of high-quality water which is necessary in metallurgical coal mining for equipment cooling and coal cutting operations.”