Submission to Senate Committee on water use by the extractive industry

The MCA, together with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia, New South Wales Minerals Council, MCA Northern Territory and Victorian Divisions, South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy and Queensland Resources Council, welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to the Senate Environment and Communications Reference Committee inquiry into water use by the extractives industry.

Access and use of Australia’s water resources by the minerals industry is subject to more regulation and oversight than most other economic activities in the country. Regulatory requirements include compliance with water access and licensing arrangements in a given region as well as regulation of water access, use and impacts as part of a development’s environmental and project approvals.

Despite the expansive framework regulating its water use, the industry is a comparatively small user of water nationally. Use by the minerals industry accounted for 3.7 per cent of Australia’s water consumption in 2015-16, down from 3.9 per cent in 2014-15.

The minerals industry also generates very high economic value add per unit of water consumption. Between $111 million and $127 million of gross value-add was generated per gigalitre of water used for mining in 2015-16.

While its water use represents a comparatively small share of national consumption, the minerals industry continues to work at a site, company and industry-wide basis to further reduce water use. This supports the industry’s long-standing commitment to responsible water stewardship.

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