The robustness of mine water accounting over a range of operating contexts and commodities
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© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Communicating the mining industry's water use is fundamental to maintaining its social license to operate but the majority of corporate reporting schemes list indicators. The Minerals Council of Australia's Water Accounting Framework was designed to assist the minerals industry obtain consistency in its accounting method and in the definitions of terms used in water reporting. The significance of this paper is that it shows that the framework has been designed to be sufficiently robust to describe any mining/mineral related operation. The Water Accounting Framework was applied across four operations over three countries producing four commodities. The advantages of the framework were then evident through the presentation of the reports. The contextual statement of the framework was able to explain contrasting reuse efficiencies. The InputeOutput statements showed that evaporation was a significant loss for most of the operations in the study which highlights a weakness of reporting schemes that focus on discharge volumes. The framework method promotes data reconciliation which proved the presence of flows that two operations in the study had neglected to provide. Whilst there are many advantages of the framework, the major points are that the reporting statements of the framework, when presented together, can better enable the public to understand water interactions at a site-level and allows for valid comparisons between sites, regardless of locale and commodity. With mining being a global industry, these advantages are best realised if there was international adoption of the framework.
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