Tool 2 – Qualitative Benchmarking and Water Stewardship Across the Mine Life Cycle

Considering how others manage water risks in the area can help prioritise action and create a management approach suitable for the locale.

It is also essential to deliberate the magnitude of water stewardship issues and risks eg impacts from climate change, unpredictable landscape etc at different stages of the mine life cycle, including the point of closure. Operational decisions and adaptive plans should be created in the early stages of the life cycle.

Step Guide


This exercise should begin with considering operational water management; looking at the extent to which catchment-based water risks are recognised, tracked and acted upon


Download metals and mining sector-specific summary reports from peer-group submissions, and look at other relevant industry sustainability reports


After viewing the submissions, now consider:

  • Practices which are not being met and require immediate action
  • Areas of opportunity as a result of high performance
  • Opportunities for collaboration and sharing of resources to manage mutual potential risks
  • What lessons can be learned from others’ approaches such as alternative stakeholder engagement practices or new technology


From these insights, deliberate the company’s preferred level of performance. Consider local context, overall business strategy, risk appetite and required resources


Look at Figure 5 (p22) a hypothetical scenario, to understand how water stewardship issues may arise across the different stages of the life cycle


Start to consider potential issues that will affect your operation, so decisions and adaptive plans can be created early on