JV Article: BHP launches global call for innovative water treatment solutions at mine sites

The Escondida mine in Chile. Credit: BHP

Aligning with its vision for greater global water security by 2030, one of the world’s biggest miners, BHP (NYSE: BHP; LSE: BHP; ASX: BHP) has launched the “Global Water Challenge”, a scouting process in alliance with Fundación Chile’s Expande, which seeks to identify disruptive water treatment solutions to sustainably enhance water efficiency, recovery and contribute to sustainable development goals in the mining industry.

The initiative calls for companies, start-ups, institutes, research centers, universities, and other entities that have, or are developing disruptive water treatment solutions, with a focus on facing water challenges at BHP’s global copper and nickel mining assets.

Challenges the initiative aims to address are minimizing brine discharge from reverse osmosis plants; treatment of acidic pit lake waters; treatment of hypersaline groundwater; treatment of neutral brine effluent from leaching operations; and treatment and reuse of brines recovered from tailings storage facilities.

“Water is an integral and vital resource for our company’s production and operations, and we have a responsibility to effectively manage our water interactions and minimize our potential impacts on water resources. We are trying to solve how we can maximize the use of water and improve the quality of usage” says Ingrid Oyarzún, Head of Sustainability Innovation at BHP.

BHP’s Olympic Dam in Australia. Image: BHP

“Facing this challenge and making our vision for a water-secure world by 2030 a reality, requires collaboration with those companies that are addressing global challenges through innovation and disruptive technologies. We have a lot of people across the business who are working in water stewardship and sustainability teams that are contributing actively to achieve goals” she adds.

Its goals include identifying repurposing technologies by eliminating water brine treatment, constraint optimization of water and maximizing water usage. The initiative also pursues the recirculation of water into the system through recovery and treatment and promoting circular economy models, which also create marketable solutions.

“This challenge is connected to BHP’s sustainable goals and Social Value strategy — we believe that working together with external ecosystems and working in collaboration we can achieve these goals. We’re very committed to make a difference and make meaningful things happen with the process, provide feedback, and move forward”, Ingrid Oyarzún says.

“We are committed to supporting Chile with its water transition, through collaborative efforts and a multi-sectoral dialogue. Global Water Challenge is a clear example of this, and we are very pleased to collaborate once again with BHP to identify and address the sustainability challenges that it is facing in its assets globally, as well as help achieve its climate change targets and goals,” says Philip Wood, Mining Innovation director at Fundación Chile.

The finalists will have the opportunity to present their solutions at a ‘Demo Day’, where winners will be able to collaborate on the next steps with the company through proof of concept, a controlled environment test or industrial pilot on a BHP asset.

Applications are open until June 15 and are available here.

The preceding Joint Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by BHP and produced in cooperation with Northern Miner Staff. Visit www.bhp.com for more information.


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