Anglo American employee testing the filtered water at a holding pond as part of Aquila's reverse osmosis plant at Anglo American's Cap coal complex near Middlemount.
Anglo American employee testing the filtered water at a holding pond as part of Aquila's reverse osmosis plant at Anglo American's Cap coal complex near Middlemount.

Anglo completes $5M water plant to support CQ mine project

An Anglo American mine site in the Bowen Basin is operating the first of two reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plants, to reduce the use of freshwater in its mining operations.

CEO Tyler Mitchelson said the $5 million water treatment system was treating two megalitres of mine affected water a day and supporting construction of the Aquila Mine near Middlemount.

"A key target in Anglo American's global Sustainable Mining Plan is to reduce our reliance on freshwater by 50 per cent by 2030 across our mine sites, and I'm pleased to say Aquila is currently sourcing recycled water during construction of the mine," he said.

"A planned second RO plant will to be used to recycle a further 2.4 megalitres of mine affected water once Aquila becomes operational in early 2022, more than doubling capacity and helping to reduce the reliance on water from local sources during times of drought."

Aquila's reverse osmosis plant at Anglo American's Cap coal complex near Middlemount.
Aquila's reverse osmosis plant at Anglo American's Cap coal complex near Middlemount.

Mr Mitchelson said Aquila would be one of the world's most technologically advanced underground mines and would showcase Anglo's innovation-led approach to sustainable mining.

Aquila's project director Tony Willmott said the $240 million project was committed to awarding contracts locally, already supporting 500 jobs.

"Our Aquila project is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners," he said.

"More than 90 per cent of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers including the RO plants.

"Aquila's integrated network of pipes and pumps is securing the distribution of high-quality water which is necessary in metallurgical coal mining for equipment cooling and coal cutting operations."

Permeable membranes inside the reverse osmosis plant at Anglo American's Metallurgical Coal operations near Middlemount.
Permeable membranes inside the reverse osmosis plant at Anglo American's Metallurgical Coal operations near Middlemount.

Last financial year, Anglo American invested $2.83 billion with Queensland suppliers, which was 77 per cent of the company's total expenditure in Australia.

The Aquila project will extend the life of Anglo American's existing underground operations at the Capcoal complex and forms part of the Capcoal Joint Venture between Anglo American (70 per cent) and Mitsui & Co. Ltd (30 per cent).

Anglo American operates five metallurgical coal mines in Queensland's Bowen Basin, along with additional joint venture interests.

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