Anglo American to slash Aquila water usage

Image: Anglo American.

Anglo American is on its way to halving water usage at the Aquila coal mine in Queensland by 2030 with the introduction of two reverse osmosis water treatment plants.

The RO water treatment system is treating two megalitres of mine affected water (MAW) per day.

This will increase by a further 2.4 megalitres of MAW daily when Aquila becomes operational in early 2022.

Anglo American metallurgical coal chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said reducing reliance on fresh water by 50 per cent by 2030 across its mine sites was a key target in the company’s global sustainable mining plan.

“Aquila will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced underground mines and will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining,” Mitchelson said.

“Aquila is currently sourcing recycled water during construction of the mine. A planned second RO plant will be used to recycle a further 2.4 megalitres of MAW, more than doubling capacity and helping to reduce the reliance on water from local sources during times of drought.”

As well as slashing water usage, Anglo American is committed to awarding contracts to local businesses for the $240 million Aquila mine.

“More than 90 per cent of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers,” Aquila project director Tony Willmott said.

“Aquila’s integrated network of pipes and pumps is securing the distribution of high-quality water necessary in metallurgical coal mining for equipment cooling and coal cutting operations.”

The Bowen Basin metallurgical coal mine will extend Anglo American’s existing underground operations at the Capcoal complex by six years.

Aquila forms part of the Capcoal joint venture, of which Anglo American holds 70 per cent and Mitsui and Co the remaining 30 per cent.