Water Use in Mining

Current global demand for water is at the level of 4,500 billion m³ a year and is expected to rise to 6,900 billion m³ by 2030.

70% of water use is agricultural, with industrial accounting for 22% of its use and residential use representing 8%.



  • Mining uses between seven and nine billion cubic metres of water per year, which is about as much water as a country like Nigeria or Malaysia uses in total in a year.
  • Mining and burning coal accounts for half of all water withdrawals in the United States, which is the same amount of water that pours over Niagara Falls in fi ve months.
  • An estimated 18.28 billion litres of water is withdrawn for mining a year in the United States.
  • Demand for water by the mining sector is likely to increase, with projections ranging from 810 billion litres of water used a year to 940 billion litres of water used a year by 2020 for Western Australia alone.


The table below illustrates water use for processing and extraction by mineral/metal type

With different types of mines having different water requirements, platinum and diamond mines rely on water the least while copper and gold mines are most water intensive.



Mining and mineral processing cannot take place without water

Polypipe plastic piping systems provide effective water management solutions for the following six applications, where water is used in mines:

  • Transport Infrastructure

    Drainage for the mine’s road and rail infrastructure which may suffer during extensive rain periods or sudden storms.

  • Processing

    Once extracted, mineral ores are transported to the processing plant, where water is used to extract the metal or mineral from the host rock.

  • Water Treatment

    Removal of waste water to a processing or sewerage plant for treatment and possible re-use.


Literature & Technical info

Speak to one of our business development team about your product requirement