New Dutch Water & Mining Platform aims to co-create sustainable mining

Cape Town – 8 February

During this week’s international Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, the Netherlands Special Envoy for Natural Resources, Mr. Dirk-Jan Koch will launch the new Dutch Water & Mining Platform. The platform is premised on the extensive experience the Dutch have with water management, and will revolve around the question: how can we co-create sustainable mining? Through this platform, the Netherlands positions itself at the intersection of water and mining.

“Mining and water are inseparably linked”, says Koch. “Any mistakes with regards to water management in mining can result in enormous risks for both man and the environment. Unfortunately, we have recently seen disasters happen in China and Brazil. We need to do everything we can to prevent that from happening again. The Netherlands have ample experience and many innovative technologies with regards to water  management, reusing water, and storage as well as the filtering of waste water; and so we believe the Dutch can aid in developing sustainable solutions for mining too”.

The Dutch Water & Mining Platform is an initiative of the Netherlands Water Partnership. It consists of the Dutch government, knowledge institutes, water management companies, as well as engineering companies like Royal IHC, Witteveen+Bos, Fugro and Royal HaskoningDHV whom will jointly investigate the biggest opportunities and risks for water management in the mining industry. The parties will stand side-by-side  while promoting Dutch expertise abroad, and will reach out to local mining partners to collaborate on water related projects.

Berte Simons, Mining Director at Royal HaskoningDHV, adds: “This sector operates in a complex setting, whereby the importance of mitigating the negative impacts on the environment is growing. Additionally, there are many technical challenges like having to dig deeper to find the raw materials, coupled with a decreasing purity of these materials which in turn results in a higher demand for the filtering of wastewater. By  working together in this innovative platform, the parties can join hands with local partners to find integrated and sustainable solutions, that can contribute to a livable environment while at the same time, offering economical benefits for the mining companies.”

Mining Indaba is the biggest mining investment conference in the world with approximately 7,000 investors and representatives attending annually. In addition to the launch of the new Dutch Water & Mining Platform at the conference, the Netherlands Consulate General in Cape Town will facilitate a Special Information Session comprising three interactive roundtables, with a key focus on the importance of an integrated approach to water management in mining.

Prior to and after Mining Indaba, Mr. Koch will visit projects of Dutch companies that are already operating on the nexus of water and mining in South Africa, as well as present a public lecture at several universities.

For the latest information on the Dutch activities in the run up and during Mining Indaba, please follow @cocreateNL on Twitter.