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At Gold Fields, water stewardship is as much a business priority as it is about living our Responsibility Value.

World Water Day 2018

Thursday, 22 March 2018

This year’s theme: Nature for Water

Gold Fields is committed to responsible water stewardship, both for the benefit of host communities and for our own operations. Clean water is a basic human right, and a vital resource for our processing activities. Our approach to managing our impact on and access to water is essential to maintaining our licence to operate. Through careful management, we are able to reduce our environmental impact through responsible use, storage and release of water, while also reducing our costs, thereby benefiting all stakeholders.

In celebration of World Water Day 2018, here are some examples from our Regions:

 

Recycling water at Cerro Corona

By continually recycling water, our Cerro Corona mine extracts no water from surface water sources such as rivers, which is a particularly sensitive issue for communities in Peru. Water, captured during the rainy season, is continuously recirculated between the mine’s tailings storage facility (TSF) and the Process plant. Any excess water in the TSF is discharged to the environment after treatment with carbon dioxide, which is more environmentally-friendly than chloride for example. Cerro Corona was the first mine in Peru to test and implement this method. The water released after this treatment complies with the Peruvian maximum permissible limits for mining effluents discharge.

 

Rainwater harvesting at Granny Smith

Rainwater harvesting is one way we reduce our reliance on natural water sources.

Our Granny Smith mine is situated in a water-scarce part of Western Australia, yet experiences heavy summer rainfalls. During storms, the Windich stream, near the mine, usually diverts to a lake system in the area. Through a simple diversion to a disused pit, the Granny Smith Environmental team ‘harvests’ enough rainwater to supplement the water (mostly from boreholes) the mine normally uses at the Process plant and at its underground operations.

The pit has a total capacity of about 13.5GL, and during a storm in January of 2017 enough water was captured to provide the mine with water for up to three years.

 

Taking care of wetlands in Ghana

Wetlands are an integral part of our natural environment providing numerous ‘services’, including improving the quality of water, maintaining water table levels, and preventing floods and erosion.

In Ghana, our Damang and Tarkwa operations are surrounded by 15 wetlands – some which have occurred naturally and others the result of earthworks. Hydrophytes (plants occurring in wetlands), and different species of fish and water birds are thriving there, and through regular monitoring, which includes using remote sensing technologies, the environmental team assures it stays this way.

As biological indicators of changes in fauna and flora, the wetlands have become integral to the sites’ environmental management plans.


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