Special Issue "Water Stewardship in Mining Regions"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Neil McIntyre Website E-Mail
Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, Queensland 4072, Australia
Phone: +617 3346 4038
Interests: land use and climate change impacts on water resources; mining; mines; hydrology; security; stewardship; conflict; impacts; change; agriculture
Guest Editor
Dr. Nadja Kunz Website E-Mail
Liu Institute for Global Issues and Norman B Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Interests: water; mining; sustainability; decision support; systems modelling; network analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is one of the most significant issues facing the global mining sector. Communities are increasingly concerned about the water-related impacts of mining projects. Companies face business risks due to water scarcity and flooding events, while social opposition has compromised industry expansion. Governments are under growing pressure to strengthen regulation of the sector and to evaluate complex trade-offs about water allocation between competing users. This Special Issue will address challenges and solutions for achieving responsible and equitable water stewardship in mining regions. While mine water management is already established as an important research area, there is a need for new contributions addressing the role of mining companies at regional scales, including questions around modelling and frameworks to support government and industry planning decisions, stakeholder engagement, cumulative impacts, governance, performance reporting, and regional risks and opportunities arising from mine water management innovations. Within this regional context, contributions from engineering, environmental and social science disciplines are welcome, with priority given to inter-disciplinary papers. International case studies from diverse mining regions are also encouraged.

Prof. Neil McIntyre
Dr. Nadja Kunz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • resources

  • metals

  • coal

  • rehabilitation

  • sustainability

  • catchments

  • hydrology

  • groundwater

  • infrastructure

  • development

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
What Participation? Distinguishing Water Monitoring Programs in Mining Regions Based on Community Participation
Water 2018, 10(10), 1325; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101325 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Water issues are a major concern for the mining sector and for communities living near mining operations. Water-related conflicts can damage a firm’s social license to operate while violent conflicts pose devastating impacts on community well-being. Collaborative approaches to water management are gaining [...] Read more.
Water issues are a major concern for the mining sector and for communities living near mining operations. Water-related conflicts can damage a firm’s social license to operate while violent conflicts pose devastating impacts on community well-being. Collaborative approaches to water management are gaining attention as a proactive solution to prevent conflict. One manifestation of these efforts is participatory water monitoring (PWM). PWM programs have the potential to generate new scientific information on water quantity and quality, improve scientific literacy, generate trust among stakeholders, improve water resource management and ultimately mitigate conflict. The emergence of PWM programs signals a shift toward greater stakeholder collaboration and more inclusive water governance within mining regions. In this article, we propose a new framework to evaluate the degree and extent of community involvement in PWM programs. This framework builds on citizen science literature. When applied to 20 cases in Latin America, notable differences in the degree of community and company participation between PWM programs are found. These differences suggest that companies and communities approach these programs from very different points of view. It is concluded that more attentive collaboration between firms and communities in the design of the program, the collection of data and interpretation of the results is needed to effectively build trust through PWM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Coal Resource Development on Streamflow Characteristics: Influence of Climate Variability and Climate Change
Water 2018, 10(9), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091161 - 30 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The potential cumulative impact of coal mining and coal seam gas extraction on water resources and water-dependent assets from proposed developments in eastern Australia have been recently assessed through a Bioregional Assessment Programme. This study investigates the sensitivity of the Bioregional Assessment results [...] Read more.
The potential cumulative impact of coal mining and coal seam gas extraction on water resources and water-dependent assets from proposed developments in eastern Australia have been recently assessed through a Bioregional Assessment Programme. This study investigates the sensitivity of the Bioregional Assessment results to climate change and hydroclimate variability, using the Gloucester sub-region as an example. The results indicate that the impact of climate change on streamflow under medium and high future projections can be greater than the impact from coal mining development, particularly where the proposed development is small. The differences in the modelled impact of coal resource development relative to the baseline under different plausible climate futures are relatively small for the Gloucester sub-region but can be significant in regions with large proposed development. The sequencing of hydroclimate time series, particularly when the mine footprint is large, significantly influences the modelled maximum coal resource development impact. The maximum impact on volumetric and high flow variables will be higher if rainfall is high in the period when the mine footprint is largest, and vice-versa for low flow variables. The results suggest that detailed analysis of coal resource development impact should take into account climate change and hydroclimate variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Water Stewardship: Attributes of Collaborative Partnerships between Mining Companies and Communities
Water 2018, 10(8), 1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081081 - 14 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
With many of the world’s largest mines operating in jurisdictions of water scarcity, competition for water has become a frequent source of tension between mining companies and other water users. Water stewardship is, therefore, becoming an important strategy for the mining sector to [...] Read more.
With many of the world’s largest mines operating in jurisdictions of water scarcity, competition for water has become a frequent source of tension between mining companies and other water users. Water stewardship is, therefore, becoming an important strategy for the mining sector to address stakeholder concerns and earn social acceptance. Collaborative partnerships between mining and other water users are a necessary component of advancing water stewardship, but the attributes needed to implement a successful water stewardship strategy are understudied. This paper addresses this gap by examining two exploratory case studies in Peru and Mongolia, where collaboration has been used as a strategy for promoting more sustainable outcomes in water-scarce regions. The findings suggest that while questions remain about who is best suited to lead collaborative partnerships, trust in the entity responsible for leading collaborative partnerships (especially in situations of high conflict) and a willingness to allow each partner to play to their strengths are critical attributes of success. We conclude that the outcome of collective action between mining companies and other water users offers the potential to deliver both business and social value, and to advance more sustainable water management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Willingness to Pay for Improved Water Services in Mining Regions of Developing Economies: Case Study of a Coal Mining Project in Thar Coalfield, Pakistan
Water 2018, 10(4), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040481 - 14 Apr 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Local communities in mining regions are vulnerable to water scarcity risks caused by extensive mining and changing climate. To mitigate such risks, we adopt a non-market valuation of low income communities’ preferences for improved access to water services, as an effort to develop [...] Read more.
Local communities in mining regions are vulnerable to water scarcity risks caused by extensive mining and changing climate. To mitigate such risks, we adopt a non-market valuation of low income communities’ preferences for improved access to water services, as an effort to develop pro-poor policies that bring long-term water security and benefits to the local people. Using data collected from 268 households from the mining site in the Thar coalfield (Pakistan), we examine the household willingness to pay (WTP) for all major uses based on hypothetical policy scenarios. Results show that the mean WTP was estimated to be PKR 3921 (USD 38) for risk averting services (S1) and PKR 4927 (USD 48.13) for domestic pipelines and more decentralized water systems (S2) per month. We found that the mean WTP for S1 is 11.8% and for S2 is 16.6% more than the existing water-related expenditures of households. Age of household head, income level, project employment, livestock, farm income, and water quality are the significant factors influencing their WTP. These findings provide empirical evidence to policymakers and resource managers to implement cost-effective water management plans that provide multiple ecosystem service benefits, thereby potentially aiding pro-poor and sustainable economic growth in mining regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Framework for Assessing the Impacts of Mining Development on Regional Water Resources in Colombia
Water 2018, 10(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10030268 - 04 Mar 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Developing its large-scale mining industry is an economic priority for Colombia. However, national capacity to assess and manage the water resource impacts of mining is currently limited. This includes lack of baseline data, lack of suitable hydrological models and lack of frameworks for [...] Read more.
Developing its large-scale mining industry is an economic priority for Colombia. However, national capacity to assess and manage the water resource impacts of mining is currently limited. This includes lack of baseline data, lack of suitable hydrological models and lack of frameworks for evaluating risks. Furthermore, public opposition to large scale mining is high and is a barrier to many proposed new mining projects mainly because of concerns about impacts on water resources. There are also concerns about impacts on the uplands that are important water sources, particularly the páramo ecosystem. This paper argues the case for a new framework for Strategic Assessment of Regional Water Impacts of Mining, aiming to support land use planning decisions by government for selected mining and prospective mining regions. The proposed framework is modelled on the Australian Government’s Bioregional Assessments program, converted into seven stages plus supporting activities that meet the Colombian development context. The seven stages are: (1) Contextual information; (2) Scenario definition; (3) Risk scoping; (4) Model development; (5) Risk analysis; (6) Database development; and (7) Dissemination by government to stakeholders including the general public. It is emphasised that the process and results should be transparent, the data and models publicly accessible, and dissemination aimed at all levels of expertise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Ecosystem Services Mapping Uncertainty Assessment: A Case Study in the Fitzroy Basin Mining Region
Water 2018, 10(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10010088 - 19 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Ecosystem services mapping is becoming increasingly popular through the use of various readily available mapping tools, however, uncertainties in assessment outputs are commonly ignored. Uncertainties from different sources have the potential to lower the accuracy of mapping outputs and reduce their reliability for [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services mapping is becoming increasingly popular through the use of various readily available mapping tools, however, uncertainties in assessment outputs are commonly ignored. Uncertainties from different sources have the potential to lower the accuracy of mapping outputs and reduce their reliability for decision-making. Using a case study in an Australian mining region, this paper assessed the impact of uncertainties on the modelling of the hydrological ecosystem service, water provision. Three types of uncertainty were modelled using multiple uncertainty scenarios: (1) spatial data sources; (2) modelling scales (temporal and spatial) and (3) parameterization and model selection. We found that the mapping scales can induce significant changes to the spatial pattern of outputs and annual totals of water provision. In addition, differences in parameterization using differing sources from the literature also led to obvious differences in base flow. However, the impact of each uncertainty associated with differences in spatial data sources were not so great. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of uncertainty assessment and highlight that any conclusions drawn from ecosystem services mapping, such as the impacts of mining, are likely to also be a property of the uncertainty in ecosystem services mapping methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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Open AccessOpinion
From Water Management to Water Stewardship—A Policy Maker’s Opinion on the Progress of the Mining Sector
Water 2019, 11(3), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030438 - 28 Feb 2019
Abstract
Water is a critical resource for mining operations, as it is for many other water users within any local catchment. With operations often located in water scarce areas, mining companies are increasingly experiencing competition for access to water resources. Concerns over the potential [...] Read more.
Water is a critical resource for mining operations, as it is for many other water users within any local catchment. With operations often located in water scarce areas, mining companies are increasingly experiencing competition for access to water resources. Concerns over the potential adverse impacts of mining on these shared resources has resulted in the sectors water management approach and practices being challenged by external stakeholders including local communities. This paper overviews the drivers that have resulted in the mining sector expanding its approach from water management within the operational fence line to catchment water stewardship, some of the major obstacles to continued progress and the related needs for guidance, research and research applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stewardship in Mining Regions)
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