Mining Companies Play a Key Role in Addressing Drought in Nevada

Posted on September 11, 2015 by Minerals Make Life

In April, Nevada’s governor, Brian Sandoval, established the Nevada Drought Forum to assess the state’s four year drought. Gov. Sandoval requested that all stakeholders and thought leaders, including mining companies, come to the table to help the government identify water conservation practices and a plan of action moving forward.

Nevada is historically a dry state and, exacerbated by the current drought, water conservation is critical. No industry is more aware of this than Nevada’s mining industry—one of the state’s major industries.

The state has a rich supply of mineral resources, including gold, copper, lithium and molybdenum. These resources are vital to the medical and transportation industries, as well as manufacturing technology like computers and smartphones. Most of these mineral resources, however, are located below water tables.

In a continued effort to conserve water, Nevada’s mines practice water relocation techniques in which water is removed from the mine and returned to its aquifer or a basin. Mining experts within the state work with the State Engineer to ensure that water management policies and practices are updated and efficiently implemented. In addition, individual mining companies sponsor scientific studies and projects to advance these practices and provide data to the scientific community. 

Dana Bennett, Nevada Mining Association president, recently wrote in the Elko Daily Free Press that:

“Like all Nevadans, the mining industry is affected by drought, but we are not unprepared. We have already established programs to ensure that our consumption of water is minimal, and we continue to look for ways to reduce it even more.”

Therefore, it is no surprise that representatives from Nevada’s mining industry were among those who attended the forum’s series of meetings. In July, the Nevada Mining Association coordinated a panel discussion featuring these mining representatives who shared their water management and conservation techniques with experts from other fields, including policy, research and natural resource conservation.

Bennett explains that the mining industry “was pleased to be invited to participate in the July meeting of the Drought Forum” and to be among “Nevada’s smartest and most thoughtful water experts.” The forum will continue this month and a final report is due to Gov. Sandoval on November 1.

Learn more about Nevada’s mining industry’s role in water management here and read Bennett’s full comments about the Nevada Drought Forum here.

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