* Anglo aims for 95 pct recycled water over next decade
* Says water scarcity a constraint to new supply
CAPE TOWN Feb 7 Assets will be stranded and
investors will walk away unless mining companies show they are
dealing with water scarcity, mine bosses said on Tuesday.
After the hottest year on record in 2016 water has shot up
the agenda at mining board meetings.
"Investors say to us: 'don't talk to us about returns'; they
want to know how we're managing water," Nick Holland, CEO of
Gold Fields,, said at an international mining
conference in Cape Town.
Mining requires water at almost every stage of the process
and the bulk of the assets of major mining companies are in
water-stressed regions, such as Africa, Australia and Latin
Anglo American says it is striving to use as little
water as possible. It has limited water consumption by using 65
percent recycled water and its goal is to reach 95 percent over
the next decade.
CEO Mark Cutifani said the issue was central.
"Water is one of the greatest constraints to new supply of
mined products across the industry," he said.
"Investors can see there's a risk that if regions are
running short of water, there's a good chance miners will have
to divert those resources. What are we doing to anticipate
Mining companies cite examples where water has caused
conflict. For instance, Barrick Gold Corp mining
operations in Peru were disrupted in 2012 because of protests
over water supplies.
The International Council on Mining and Metals, which groups
23 firms including BHP Billiton , Rio
, Anglo American and Glencore, in January
published a position on water stewardship to enforce best
The industry body quotes research showing increased levels
of conflict because of water and the financial cost of water
issues, saying water-related infrastructure accounts for
approximately 10 percent of the industry's capital expenses.
Since 2000, water-related issues were implicated in 58
percent of mining cases lodged with the World Bank Group's
Compliance Officer Ombudsman, which deals with complaints from
communities around mining operations, data published in January
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by Susan Thomas)