Advancing Together With Barrick Gold

Blog Advancing water transparency

To enhance transparency and help people better understand Barrick’s water performance, we’re making our water usage data more readily available in a form that our stakeholders haven’t seen before

By John McCartney

John McCartney, Vice President of Water Management, explains how we've changed the way we present our water data to our stakeholders to make it more accessible.

John McCartney, Vice President of Water Management, explains how we've changed the way we present our water data to our stakeholders to make it more accessible.

In our quest to enhance transparency and help people better understand Barrick’s water performance, we’re making our water usage data more readily available in a form that our stakeholders haven’t seen before.

The data, which covers important metrics like fresh water usage, water withdrawals, water discharge, water recycling, and water intensity, can now be easily accessed in the water section of our website. It’s laid out in simple graph form and includes interactive features. Users, for instance, can browse data by country and see the following facts relating to our 2016 water performance:

  • Our Veladero mine in Argentina recycled 95 percent of its water use in 2016, compared to 78 percent for the company as a whole. These percentages are above our industry peers and reflect our commitment to minimizing freshwater consumption.
  • Our water intensity (water used in processing) is one of the best in industry at around 0.4 cubic meters of water per tonne of ore processed, reflecting the efficiency of our processes.
  • Barrick operations returned 65 million cubic meters of treated water to the environment. It is interesting to note that some 25 million cubic meters was from our Pueblo Viejo operation alone.

Making our water usage data more easily accessible represents one small part of our broader water management strategy.

While we’ve made much of this data available in the past, it was usually contained in the appendices of various reports in data tables that could be difficult to decipher. With water becoming an ever-more important concern for our host community and government partners, as well as other key stakeholders, including our investors, we recognized the need to improve the accessibility of this data.

Making our water usage data more easily accessible represents one small part of our broader water management strategy. We are also taking steps to better assess our water risks. To this end, my team of water experts is working closely with each Barrick site to support the implementation of water management plans. Part of that will involve improvements to the way our operations track water data and water performance. Digital technology will be an important part of this. It will not only facilitate our ability to collect important water data more quickly, it will help us analyze that information faster.

I’ll provide more specifics as these measures take root, but as a starting point, think in terms of digitizing key water-monitoring points around a mine site (water treatment plants, storage ponds, leach pads). This will provide us with real-time data about the quality and quantity of water at our sites and immediate alerts should an issue arise. Data is important and details matter. That old adage ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’ certainly applies to water management and, as sites implement their respective water management plans, we’ll be in a better position to identify and address water-related issues in a more timely and systematic fashion than we are today.


Learn more about our water management strategy in this video.