The global mining industry is facing extremely significant challenges related to consumptionism and rising demands for mineral-based products. Declining richness and exhaustion of available commodities, climate change and intensification of environmental issues, as well as deepening water scarcity are only driving concerns. The new era of redefining the mining industry for tomorrow and beyond is here and mining companies are forced to start doing things differently, re-think over their current business approach and invest in long-term solutions and technologies in order to mitigate environmental, economic and social concerns. Sustainable business today ensures future gains tomorrow, and therefore the global mining industry is undergoing a major transformation. Water sustainability in mining is becoming an industry standard and yet poses complex challenges that require holistic and revolutionary thinking over water issues and incorporation of waterless mines targeting assessment, strategy and execution to lower water consumption; engaging water recycling initiatives and zero water discharge; integrating smart solutions, as well as advanced treatment technologies and reinforced services.

Research scope

The growth of the global mining water and wastewater treatment market is strongly driven by the ongoing demand for waterless mine and sustainable operations, supported by digitalisation of the value chain and reinforced services. On the other hand, the industry is facing challenges related to a lack of transparent legislation and financial support in terms of environmental investments in key global mining locations and the need for high-scale investment towards transformation of the entire mining business. This report looks at the market from the mining water and wastewater treatment perspective comprising design & engineering services, water, wastewater & acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment equipment, process control & management, treatment chemicals, and operation & maintenance services dedicated to extraction and processing of commodities. Regional coverage includes Europe & Russia, North America, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

The global mining water and wastewater treatment market, valued at $4,730.2 million in 2018, is expected to expand at a CAGR of 11.0% between 2018 and 2023, reaching $7,973.7 million at the end of forecast period. Overall development of the global mining water and wastewater treatment market is strongly supported by healthy growth of the mining industry, high CAPEX of mining companies dedicated to environmental investments, as well as the transition of the entire industry towards more sustainable operations and digitalisation. All regions where the mining industry is active, or is yet to be present, offer high investment opportunities for water-related technologies and services.

The European market is driven mainly by a strong focus on implementation of sustainable practices in the mining industry, strict and transparent rules dedicated to management and protection of natural resources, as well as a high penetration rate of advanced technologies. Projected strong growth of the North American market will be mainly driven by further development of advanced water, wastewater, and AMD treatment technologies, as well as large-scale investments into process control & management technologies and solutions. Large-scale mining business in Latin America is in urgent need for implementation of integrated water management solutions enabling the move towards more sustainable operations and water-saving solutions. The mining industry in the Middle East and African region is characterised by weak sustainability and a lack of holistic approach to business operations; however, with the growing number of foreign investors and rising social awareness, it is expected that the region will finally turn towards more efficient water-related and process control solutions. In Asia Pacific, areas of rising concern over water stress, especially in China, India, and Australia, are expected to see great investment into membrane technologies, coupled with a strong focus on desalination, zero liquid discharge (ZLD), metal recovery technologies, as well as decentralised treatment solutions for mining in remote locations.

Key growth opportunities include state-of-art decentralised treatment solutions, seeking cost-effective and environment-friendly alternative water sources for regions with limited water availability, solutions and services for improved end-to-end mining production efficiency, digital transformation of the entire mining value chain, organic and inorganic chemicals supporting high-end treatment as well as maintenance chemicals, and strategic partnerships and collaborations for ensuring overall progress.

At present, water has become a unique platform to build cooperation, creating significant internal and external value through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes as well as consolidation and integration of the mining business, including other mining companies, technology and service providers as well as local communities. Learning from the past and incorporating innovations to address present challenges enables shaping the future growth path. Therefore, managing water-related risks responsibly, working across market barriers, incorporating advanced technologies, looking from a beyond-my-fence perspective and turning water-related challenges into significant business opportunities are becoming the best practices to follow.