22 agosto 2023
Access to water is critical to our operations. In recent years, Nickel West has been close to meeting its allocation limit of the existing sub-potable concentrator water supply bore field. Simultaneously, there is a need for Nickel West’s saline pit lake, Harmony Pit Lake to be emptied to ensure the safety of potential future underground development. The coming together of these two issues created a positive outcome.
Instead of relying on high-quality water from the water supply bore field for all operations, the team developed water transfer infrastructure to use the poor-quality water from Harmony Pit Lake for some areas of operations at Nickel West. The infrastructure included a second water tank and discrete water pipework to ensure no contamination between waters.
After facing some initial challenges, the use of the Harmony Pit Lake water (for certain aspects of the operations) has been successful. Water volumes abstracted from the high-quality water supply bore field have reduced from 2.28 gigalitres (GL) (abstracted in 2020) to 0.88 GL (abstracted in 2022) while water abstraction from Harmony Pit Lake has increased from 0.59 GL (abstracted in 2020) to 2.12 GL (abstracted in 2022).