Our vision is to generate innovation in water-related research and development. We aim to deliver world class scientific discovery in fundamental and applied research.
The Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry was created within the SMI in 2004 to develop new methods for accessing and managing surface and groundwater resources, new water treatment methods to control water quality, improved management of tailings decant and to develop cost-effective methods of 'dry' processing. The formation of CWiMI enabled a direct scientific focus to be developed within SMI on water related research.
The major challenges of sustainable development in the minerals industry over the next decade will focus on access to land and security of renewable resources, particularly water. The congruence of a long term decline in ore grade, greater throughput, and the processing of more refractory ore will lead to more extensive mine areas and depths, increased waste rock production, and a greater demand for water resources. Techniques, tools and methods are required to respond to the threats posed by increasing competition for water across all economic sectors and the environment. The Centre will continue to lead research in the areas of best practice water management and water quality research. In the future, the emergence of industry, government and community interest in water x energy interactions, cumulative impacts and sustainability will provide strong drivers for development of new and wider research programs in CWiMI.
Vision and Goals
Our vision is to generate innovation in water-related research and development. We aim to deliver world class scientific discovery in fundamental and applied research. Our niche is to conduct research that supports the relationship between the minerals industry and governments, thereby underpinning the economic and social well-being of Australia.
CWiMI has taken a fundamentally new approach to developing world's best practice in water management. We characterise this approach as a 'strategic systems view' of water management because it considers mine operations to be part of an interconnected system. We identify solutions to water problems (both quantity and quality) through studying the dynamics of this system. Our view is that, while focusing on task level flows will lead to incremental improvements in unit water use efficiency (water consumption per unit production), a systems view is required in order to achieve a step change in mine site or region water use efficiency. This is because identification of major gains in water efficiency among sites or via regional synergies requires identification of the largest risks to water security in the system.