Participatory Water Monitoring Scoping Study in Ghana

Communities want to understand the impacts of mine water management on the environment and to themselves. Participatory water monitoring, where community members in conjunction with technical experts and the mining company are involved in defining objectives, sampling design, sample collection, data interpretation or/and communication to the broader public, has the potential to resolve or avoid conflict. Prior to the creation of a participatory water monitoring program, there is a need to understand the physical and social context of the region. We will be conducting a scoping study to understand the social context of a mining region in Ghana using the newly developed Social Water Analysis Protocol (SWAP).

SWAP: Social Water Assessment Protocol

There is a growing acceptance within the mining industry that their major water risks occur offsite rather than onsite. Key offsite risks are the social impacts caused by poor onsite water management. This is largely due corporate policy and onsite water management being divorced from the local context and water performance being measured using purely technical metrics. This project presents the Social Water Assessment Protocol (SWAP) which captures the social context that a site operates in through a series of questions organised into thematic areas. By doing so, the SWAP helps to integrate the social context into a sites impact assessment and water management. This is a collaborative project with the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining.

Capacity Building of the Minerals Council of Australia Water Accounting Framework

The minerals industry has recognised the importance of sustainable water management policies and practices with major companies reporting on their water performance on an annual basis. However, historically companies have used different definitions and methodologies to capture their water performance, making cross-company comparisons and communication invalid. The Minerals Council of Australia Water Accounting Framework (WAF), co-developed by the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry (CWiMI), is a standard methodology to represent, record and communicate a site’s water performance thereby, allowing for valid comparisons between companies and transparent communication of water performance, contributing towards the preservation of a social licence to operate.

Genetic relationships among Australian Cricotopus

Cricotopus is a diverse genus of non-biting midges (Diptera: Chironomidae) that occupies freshwater ecosystems. Currently, little is known of the relationships among the diverse austral taxa, but their ecologies vary markedly among species such that some are widespread and highly tolerant of impacted environments, whilst others are highly sensitive and geographically restricted. Understanding how pollution tolerance has evolved in this genus is important for biomonitoring and assessment of freshwater ‘health’. The project will incorporate both morphological and molecular data, analysed under a rigorous statistical framework, to resolve evolutionary relationships among the Australian species and their use in ecological health assessments.

Modelling the Water, Energy and Economic Nexus

The mining industry faces three long term strategic risks in relation to its water and energy use: 1) securing enough water and energy to meet increased production; 2) reducing its water use, energy consumption and emissions due to social, environmental and economic pressures; and 3) fully understanding the link between water and energy, so that an improvement in one area does not simply create a greater adverse affect in the other. This project aims to help the industry analyse these risks by creating a tool that models the interactions of water and energy both on a site and regional level.