Partnerships for sustainable water management


Mrs Jocelyn Fraser

With growing global demand, access to clean water is becoming difficult, and competition for this increasingly scarce resource is a frequent cause of conflict between mining companies and communities. As a result, many mining companies now view water as a strategic asset rather than simply a commodity to be bought and sold. This new way of thinking has led to opportunities for collaborative partnerships between mining companies, communities, government agencies, and other water users. The objective of these partnerships is the shared and sustainable use of water resources. This paper examines several initiatives undertaken by mining companies and communities in resource-rich regions. While acknowledging the diversity of perspectives on the value of water, the paper argues that when mining companies work with communities on issues of mutual interest, there are economic returns for both business and society, as well as the potential to establish processes for the sustainable use of resources. The discussion will be framed around the nexus of four UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to illustrate the contribution mining can make to advancing the SDG agenda.