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World Water Day: Innovation and Tradition in Ontario Mining Water Management Practices

ontario mining association water resources
ontario mining association water resources
Photo courtesy of Newmont Corporation – Musselwhite Mine

Responsible water management is a key focus of Ontario mining companies’ sustainable development plans. Their aim is to conserve, reuse and recycle water while preventing pollution and respecting local cultural and spiritual perspectives on the role of this vital shared resource.

Over 66% of the water used by Ontario mining companies in 2019 was recycled. Wesdome’s Eagle River Gold Mine uses recycled water to process ore, and approximately 90% of the water discharged from its tailings management area comes from precipitation.

Ontario miners adopt innovative technological solutions. Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson Mine uses the Submerged Aerobic Attached Growth Reactor (SAGR)™ — a plug-flow biological treatment system that passively removes ammonia from effluent water in temperatures as cold as 1°C. Over the past three years of operation, more than 2.2 million m3 of water has been treated to meet dischargeable water quality.

While embracing innovation, miners prioritize trust, respect and tradition. Every spring and fall, Newmont’s Musselwhite Mine hosts the opening and closing water ceremonies as a form of giving thanks and respect to the land and the water that surrounds the site. Representatives from the local Indigenous communities share blessings and acknowledge a successful year of effluent release. The ceremonies consist of prayers and hymns and First Nation youth open and close the decant valve.

For more examples of how Ontario mining companies minimize the potential impact of their activities on the environment, and how they engage in constructive dialogue with others on responsible water management, please visit

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