Why roadmaps vary for different operations – Sandfire Resources

Why roadmaps vary for different operations – Sandfire Resources

Copper mine locations are spread globally, resulting in different operating conditions for each site. Due to this, there is not a single water roadmap that applies for all copper mining operations. An example is the difference between Sandfire’s DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine (Australia) and their underground Black Butte Copper Project (USA). The DeGrussa mine site is located in an arid environment, experiencing low rainfall and regular droughts.1 To manage this risk, Sandfire adopts various management practice including:

  • monitoring water abstraction, usage and discharge;

  • reviewing site water balances; and

  • ensuring compliance with environmental licences for abstraction and discharge.

Alternately, the Black Butte project is located approximately 27km north of White Sulphur Springs in Montana, USA within the Smith River Valley watershed. 2 Being both underground and near local water resources requires Sandfire to focus on features including:

  • all planned openings or entry points to the mind are located above the water table;

  • all ground water from the mine and surface water from precipitation will be collected, monitored, tested and treated before being placed back into the ground water system through an underground infiltration system; and

  • a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plant will be constructed on-site.