The company has reduced its water consumption per tonne of gold produced by 8% since 2008 despite an 11% increase in production. Compared to the top 5 largest gold mining companies, Barrick Gold’s water intensity is lowest at 45% below average despite producing 77% more gold than its peers.
The second largest gold mining company, American-based Newmont Mining Corporation, is one of the least water efficient. Its water intensity is 171% higher than Barrick’s and is increasing year-on-year. While Newmont Mining Corp. reports no water conservation initiatives, Barrick Gold’s improvements since 2008 are due to the implementation of a comprehensive global Water Conservation Standard requiring all of its sites to systematically monitor water use and institute water conservation programs at all stages of the mining life cycle – good practice from which its peers can learn. The chart below shows the companies’ water consumption and intensities in 2008 and 2009.
Chart 1: Five largest gold mining companies’ water consumption and efficiency, 2008 and 2009