Water treatment for hard-rock mining, including iron, copper, nickel and gold, will be a growing concern over the next five years, according to a new analysis by Bluefield Research.
The market is expected to expand by 85 percent, coming in at a total value of $17 billion by 2019.
The mining water treatment industry is growing because many of the world's mining operations are in water-stressed areas. As much as half of all planned hard-rock mining investment globally, or roughly $223 billion, is allocated to such areas, underlining the importance of water management. That is why mining operators are increasingly investing in desalination technologies, commented Erin Bonney Casey, Bluefield water treatment markets analyst. Currently, more than $15 billion of desalination plants and supply pipelines linked to mining are at various stages of development.
As the sector expands, so does competition in the field of mining water treatment, Bluefield said. In a bid to retain their market share, large companies are going through mergers, acquisitions, partnerships and other consolidation activities, while new entrants to the market are benefiting from tighter regulation imposing stricter limits on water usage for miners.
According to the report, since 2012 the biggest 15 mining companies globally have used over 25 million cubic meters of water per day. Close to two-thirds of this amount was treated and recycled, Desalination & Water Reuse reported.