Water is a vital component of our operations. To manage the mine water and fresh water rationally and sustainably, we strive to use the most effective water management methods and best practices. EVRAZ has invested a concerted effort to decrease water usage as part of its commitment to health, safety, and the environment. Water-related goals and tasks are addressed by our HSE Policy, which includes the Board of Directors dealing with water risk management challenges, among other responsibilities set out for the executive management. As regards the environmental water-related concerns, EVRAZ is a member of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP). We make significant efforts to treat our effluents in order to reduce our reliance on fresh water.
The mining and steel industries require significant amounts of water. As part of our climate risk assessment, we have recognised that circular water use within our facilities enables us to manage physical risks like water scarcity, droughts and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.
The majority of the Group’s activities are not located in water scarcity areas. Any significant risks to the availability of water resources, but it is our goal to minimise any possible negative effects our activities may have on the environment by lowering water intake. The water we take comes from surface water bodies, groundwater wells, and public water networks, and is used for a variety of functions.
Our primary water-related operations are:
Equipment and ventilation cooling demands
Offices, workshop, laboratories
Most of the overall fresh water intake for manufacturing purposes is related to three major steel mills: EVRAZ NTMK, EVRAZ KGOK, and EVRAZ ZSMK (including Evrazruda). Surface water, such as that from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, accounts for around 90% of these industries’ fresh water intake. Total fresh water consumption for production purposes was 196.22 million m3, which is 6.56 million m3 less than in 2020.
The Group strictly complies with all applicable legislation on water discharges. Total volume of water discharged in 2021 was 121.49 million m3, which is 3.77 million m3 less than in 2020.
At our coal and ore mining sites, we also pump mine water (quarry water) for safety purposes. Mine water is generated when groundwater from several aquifers mixes and interacts with the air in the mine area and exposed rocks during mining excavations. As this water is a natural phenomenon we cannot totally regulate or estimate its volume. Despite our efforts to utilise mine water for production instead of fresh water, our mining assets require less water amount than the one available with us. There is no way to distribute excess water to other consumers as most of our mines are located in remote areas. In 2021, we used 20.6 million m3 (31.9%) of mine water instead of fresh water. The remaining volume, 43.9 million m3 (68.1%) of the total amount was dumped in bodies of water. Our water-related Environmental strategy goal specifies that mine water is treated to remove pollutants occurred during mining.
Water discharge regulations are rigorously enforced at our facility. There was a 3.8 million m3 decrease in the volume of water discharged in 2021, to 121.5 million m3, compared with 125.3 million m3 in 2020. It is part of the EVRAZ Environmental policy to limit the amount of water discharged, which helps to reduce water intensity. Mine water discharge cannot be controlled, as previously stated, due to the necessity of pumping groundwater out of mines in order to ensure workers’ safety. The water discharge intensity for steel production was 4.68 m3 per tonne of crude steel cast. We also focus on industry median when planning our water discharges reduction measures.
In 2021, we were seeking the ways to cut back on water withdrawals at our sites while still moving forward with other initiatives that have already been identified for implementation. To meet our water-related goals and tasks, this will enable us to reduce our overall consumption while also improving our efficiency.