A Corporate Wide Approach to Water Stewardship during Operations and Closure


Mr Paul Glader, Mr Jeremy ScottCollyard

Hecla is currently conducting a water stewardship review for the purposes of identifying strategies to optimize water use with the focus on reducing the quantity of water treated and handled during both operation and post-closure at six active and closed mine sites. The approach taken by Hecla and Stantec is centered on a basic predictive site-wide water balance that includes water chemistry data resulting in a simple predictive model. This tool, coupled with input from multiple disciplines at the site (environmental, mill and process, tailings operations, etc.) as it relates to water chemistry requirements for use, is used to develop water conservation approaches for the entire site. Potential opportunities for the reduction of water treatment and handling have been identified at four sites to date. These opportunities have been identified throughout the facilities from underground and open pit dewatering, stormwater management, ore processing and underground operation, water treatment technologies, to concurrent reclamation. Identified opportunities at the four sites completed have the potential of reducing water treatment and handling by over 1 billion gallons annually which represents a significant risk reduction and an operating cost reduction with even greater savings to be realized at closure.