Water Management

Water is essential to our operations, our stakeholders and the environment. Given our geographical scope, we operate in areas of both water surplus and water scarcity. In order to help us better understand and manage our water footprint and risks related to water, we initiated the Goldcorp Water Stewardship Strategy (GWSS) in 2013. This initiative called for all operating sites to achieve a collection of milestones representing the implementation of sound water management fundamentals; these achievements would ensure we were able to effectively measure, model and manage water. During 2017, the sites wrapped up their achievement of the GWSS milestones, and the company officially shifted its water stewardship focus to pursuing the Towards Zero Water (H2Zero) vision.

H2Zero is our next, more aggressive phase of water stewardship: an ambitious, voluntary, industry-leading water stewardship vision. It reflects our commitment to sustainable mining and is a result of our understanding that the mining industry’s stewardship of water requires significant change in the coming years. H2Zero includes short- and long-term targets to eventually get as close as possible to net zero new fresh water put into our systems. To enable us to pursue this goal, we intend to become continually more water efficient, to recycle more water and to invest resources into important innovations related to tailings management and mineral processing.

In 2017, we completed a variety of important tasks aimed at defining, documenting and kick-starting the progress of H2Zero:

  • Developed and rolled out the Goldcorp Water Accounting Framework which defines the targets, milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) of the program (see table below).
  • Executed the Cost of Water project, resulting in the Water Valuation Toolbox model and a company-wide set of costs for the full spectrum of water activities at our operations.
  • Supported sites in the preparation of site-specific H2Zero studies, projects and budgets.

H2Zero Targets and Milestones

Year Targets & Milestones

Year 1 (2017)

[all completed]

  • H2Zero internally branded and acceptance well underway
  • H2Zero framework and success criteria defined
  • Disclosure in the 2017 annual Sustainability Report of the H2Zero initiative
  • Goldcorp’s Investment Framework and SEMS revised to align with H2Zero
  • Established the true cost of water for all operating sites

Year 2 (2018)

  • Operating sites achieve a consolidated water recycling efficiency of at least 50% for site-wide use of water in tasks
  • Disclosure in the 2018 annual Sustainability Report of H2Zero targets
  • True cost of water at operations is understood, communicated, and utilized in analysis of business case scenarios
  • Peñasquito EcoTails prefeasibility study completed

Year 3 (2019)

  • Reuse/recycle efficiency at all operating sites where baseline is <75%, improves by at least 10%
  • Disclosure in the 2019 annual Sustainability Report of progress on H2Zero targets

Year 5 (2021)

  • Reuse/recycle efficiency at those operating sites with baseline at less than 50% have increased their reuse/recycle efficiency by 20%
  • New water input for use outside of mineral processing at operations is significantly reduced from baseline

Year 10 (2026)

  • Operations achieve the lowest possible mineral processing raw water intensity measured by m3 per tonne processed
  • New tailings facilities store only dewatered tailings

Water Withdrawal by Source

The quantities of water withdrawn are typically measured using flow metres. However, there are points of withdrawal that may not be equipped with a flow metre and, in these cases, the quantity is estimated, calculated or modeled. For instance, precipitation volumes (i.e., rainwater withdrawal) are estimated by combining measured precipitation from site or local meteorological stations with the measured size of applicable capture areas and estimated runoff coefficients.

Total water withdrawal increased by 3.4% from 2016 to 2017.

2015 2016 2017

Surface water [m3]




Ground water [m3]




Rainwater (direct precipitation and runoff) [m3]


11,806,932 1


Water from a municipal or other public or private supplier [m3]




Waste water from another organization [m3]




Total withdrawal [m3]




Water Sources Affected by Withdrawal of Water

The Peñasquito mine reports two ground water sources that are significantly affected by withdrawal of water as determined by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) criteria. Peñasquito is in an arid environment; to compensate for water losses due to evaporation and water held and accumulated in the tailings facility, Peñasquito adds ground water sourced from water supply wells to the process. Additionally, to maintain the open pit as a dry working environment there are a series of dewatering wells which are withdrawing more than 5% of the annual average volume of the aquifer. The aquifer volume is estimated at 6,000,000m3.

Peñasquito is striving to increase its focus on water reuse and recycling, and to reduce the intensity with which fresh water is added to the processing circuit. Regular monitoring is underway to ensure detection and appropriate management of any potential environmental impacts.

The water sources are not designated as a protected area, and no important biodiversity value has been assigned to the water sources. Peñasquito conducts ongoing engagement with local communities regarding water source issues.

Water Reuse and Recycling

The rate of water reuse and recycling is a measure of efficiency, one that helps us track improvements that result from the implementation of the Water Stewardship Strategy and the Towards Zero Water (H2Zero) vision. The International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) released “A Practical Guide to Consistent Water Reporting” in March 2017 and as a result we began reclassifying water withdrawal by dewatering from reused or recycled water to a raw water input, unless that water had previously been used in a task. We had previously been treating the act of dewatering itself as a task and therefore use of any dewatering water in a task was classified as reused or recycled water. When the 2017 guidance from ICMM on water reporting was released, we began the process of reclassifying that water. Therefore, the decrease in water reuse and recycling that is observed is a result of this reclassification.

Water Reuse and Recycling2

2015 2016 2017

Total reused or recycled [m3]




Total water withdrawal [m3]




Reused and recycled as percentage of total water withdrawal




Water Discharge

Each site is responsible to comply with the requirements to manage and treat discharged water. The objectives are to avoid significant environmental impacts and to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and permits. The methods and requirements for treatment vary widely, and depend on the applicable standards, the pre-treated water quality and the receiving environment. All water discharge is managed to meet site specific water quality requirements. A brief summary of treatment processes utilized at operating sites (for discharges) is provided in the table below. We monitor and report at frequencies determined by applicable regulations, permits and our Sustainability Excellence Management System (SEMS) standards as to the discharge compliance status.

Site Discharge Water Treatment

Red Lake

Red Lake water treatment plant, Campbell effluent treatment circuit, Cochenour water treatment plant, Settling, Polishing and Wetlands


Industrial water treatment plant from sediment pond to final effluent


Polishing Pond and Wetlands


Effluent treatment plant, Polishing Pond

Cerro Negro

NA – no discharge


NA – no discharge


Marlin water treatment plant

At Éléonore, where there has been an ongoing challenge meeting the toxicity standards for trout and daphnia in local waterways, 624,793 cubic metres of effluent was discharged outside of these applicable water quality standards. Éléonore has been working, and continues to work, proactively and transparently with the regulatory authority to achieve compliance. During 2017, a major water treatment plant upgrade was commissioned. The upgraded treatment process is expected to fully remedy the toxicity issue, and results received during the fourth quarter of 2017 reflect this. The Éléonore effluent toxicity tests during Q4 2017 showed full compliance with the federal toxicity standard for trout, and very close to full compliance with the provincial toxicity standard for daphnia. There was one exceedance of the provincial daphnia toxicity standard on October 1, 2017 and the remainder of the quarter was in full compliance.

Water Reuse by Another Organization

The volumes reported in the table below for discharges to a third party come from the Porcupine Mine, where the operation discharges water to Glencore’s adjacent Kidd Metallurgical Site. The discharged water is dewatering water (i.e., a mixture of raw and reused water), and it is our understanding that the flows are subsequently used by Glencore in their facilities. Peñasquito began reporting the discharge to ground water metric in 2017.

2015 2016 2017

Discharge to surface water [m3]




Discharge to ground water [m3]




Discharge to a third party [m3]




Total [m3]




Waterbodies Significantly Affected by Discharges

Waterbodies and related habitats significantly affected by water discharges and/or runoff that meet one or more of the GRI criteria include Balmer Lake. The Red Lake mine discharges a quantity larger than 5% of the receiving waterbody, Balmer Lake. This lake is a small, headwater lake which drains south into the Chukuni River and eventually into Keg Lake. There are no known negative impacts related to effluent quality from the current mine discharges. Environmental monitoring in Balmer Lake has indicated significant improvements in its water quality and overall biological health in recent years.