The utility of a systems approach for managing strategic water risks at a mine site level
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© 2016 The Authors. Mining operations increasingly encounter two water-related risks: (1) Dryness - having insufficient water to meet production needs; and (2) Wetness - having too much water leading to discharge during high rainfall events. Water accounts and dynamic systems models have been developed to assist decision makers in identifying these risks, however little empirical research has explored the practical utility of a systems modelling approach. To address this gap, we apply a systems approach at an operational mine site. Uncertainties in water flows were identified to guide decisions about where additional monitoring equipment should be installed to improve the accuracy of the overall site water balance. Simulation results provided valuable information for the site water committee to consider "out-of-the-box" ideas for progressing towards its ambitious water goals and mitigating strategic water risks. It is concluded that systems approaches should be further applied within mining and other industrial sectors.
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