Economic value of water to be put to the test

A STUDY into the WA mining industry’s water usage will increase the industry’s ability to negotiate over the future uses of water, according to industry body the Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

The recently announced study will look at the role played by the minerals industry in water exploration, development and management as well as its uses and disposal.

It is expected to be completed in June this year and make recommendations for the future allocation of water resources.

According to the CME the lack of access to water supplies will be a significant constraint to future minerals industry development in regional areas.

The Federal Government, the WA Government and the CME will each contribute $10,000 towards the study titled Water and the Western Australian Minerals and Energy Sector: Certainty of supply for the future growth.

CME economics and industry executive officer Shaheen Hughes welcomed the government support, saying it was important the mining industry was factored into decisions regarding the future use of water as it became a higher priority with both governments and communities.

The WA mining industry is second only to the agriculture industry in terms of the volumes of water used.

Ms Hughes said recent studies showed the community valued water resources differently to industry, which was why a study was needed to calculate the mining industry’s current and future water needs.

“It is about the triple bottom line,” she said.

Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said the study would contribute to the understanding of water use and demand in mining, which was critical to the sustainability of the resources sector.

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