Glencore: Water management systems and initiatives at Glencore Coal’s Clermont Mine

In 2021, after years of persistent dry conditions and minimal rainfall, many mining operations and landowners in the Fitzroy Basin were facing the reality of a water shortage.

Glencore Coal’s Clermont Mine, situated within the Wolfang Creek catchment and forming part of the Nogoa River catchment, was one of several operations adversely impacted by drought.

All of Glencore’s operations have comprehensive water management strategies in place to manage droughts and floods.

The strategies ensure that Glencore:

  • Operates in accordance with their environmental authorities
  • Minimises impacts on local waterways and groundwater systems
  • Uses water efficiently
  • Protects mining operations from flooding
  • Plans for and provides sufficient water infrastructure to support mining.

In the case of Clermont Mine, prolonged dry conditions posed a threat to the site’s water supply. Clermont Mine has a single open cut pit and one main water storage dam. The site has no external water supply.

In 2021 the site initiated their Water Reduction Task Force, bringing together team members from a cross-section of the mining operation.

The Task Force commenced monitoring and tracking daily water usage to evaluate the risk of a mine shutdown due to limited water.

The team also implemented several initiatives to ensure water on site was preserved and appropriately managed.

A key component of the strategy was limiting water usage to two key areas – washing coal and maintaining water carts used to minimise dust generated by haul trucks. Water usage across all other areas was drastically reduced.

A dust suppressant was also used to improve the collection of airborne dust and reduce evaporation on haul roads.

In addition to water reduction efforts, Clermont Mine commenced a groundwater exploration project.

Although Clermont is licensed to extract water from the Basalt Aquifer, this option has never been exercised because of the importance of the water source to the local farming community.

The exploration work was successful, securing an additional 30 litres per second of water for the mine.

By implementing appropriate water management systems and initiatives, our Clermont Mine was able to overcome the challenges of drought.