Environmental officer Theophillus Rikhotso conducts water testing at Inyosi Coal's
Water is, and will continue to be, one of the key challenges facing our businesses around the world. With many of our operations – particularly in South Africa – in water-stressed catchments, we are committed to being a responsible water steward and ensuring we maximise our resources accordingly.
With this commitment in mind, it proved a natural fit for Anglo American to enter in to the Strategic Water Partners Network – South Africa (SWPN), launched at last year’s COP17 meeting in Durban. The partnership brings together the South African government, private sector and international partners in an effort to close the looming water volume gap in the country by 2030.
Alongside the Department of Water Affairs, the Water Resources Group, the World Economic Forum, Coca-Cola, Eskom, Nestle, South African Breweries, Sasol and others; Anglo American is helping to build a leadership group that will collaborate on an on-going basis with Government. Its aim is to identify joint solutions that support the implementation of Government water strategies and deliver on overall water security for South Africa.
Acting Director General of Water Affairs Trevor Balzer views this partnership as a crucial component of the South African water resources strategy. He said: “The commitment which the private and public sectors continue to show reflects consciousness to climate and water resource challenges faced by the nation, and dedication towards a joint solution. The SWPN provides a platform to a variety of sectoral partners for collaboration, discussion and implementation of key projects that have the potential to effectively close our water volume gap.”
The South African network is organised into three working groups, responsible for: water use efficiency/leakage reduction; supply chain; and agriculture and effluent partnerships – with secretariat support from the NEPAD Business Foundation. Within these groups, the SWPN is identifying projects, best practices and recommending strategies to overcome challenges in replicating water projects and improving the widespread adoption of water solutions.
Acknowledging the severity of the issue, Godfrey Gomwe, executive director of Anglo American South Africa, concluded that engagement is central to the company’s approach to water management, with Anglo American regularly collaborating on water-related policy issues.
“Anglo American is aware that water security is one of the greatest challenges facing the mining industry. Therefore, as a responsible corporate citizen, we remain committed to minimising water abstraction, and reusing and recycling the water that the Group utilises to ensure the continuation of our operations in a sustainable and environmentally sound way.”