Gold Water Benchmarking

Skarn is pleased to announce the release of the updated Gold Water Benchmark tool, covering 278 mines producing over 55 million ounces of gold in 2022. These mines consume over 50 Olympic size swimming pools of water, every hour. And they discharge over 20 Olympic size swimming pools of water, every hour. 

Three major takeaways from Skarn’s analysis 


Water-use data of only 65% of the assets included were obtained directly from disclosure by the operating mining companies. And just of over half of these cases there was a full disclosure of withdrawals, discharge and consumption.  

Climate-related water risk 

As expected, gold mining is very water intensive, and overall we have seen a slight reduction in water consumption over the years, from 23m3 per ounce of gold in 2018 to 21m3 in 2022. This is mostly driven by a more efficient water use at the mines leading to a reduction of water consumed per tonne of ore processed.  

From a global perspective, there is a reduced water-related production risk due to drought or flood events. The main reason is also related to the reduction in water consumption needs for the production process. 

Asset-level materiality impact evaluation 

However, these general conclusions are not valid for all operations or mining companies: Following Skarn’s water-balance and exposure model, one- sixth of the covered mines are exposed to a production loss of over 8% of their annual revenue due to physical water-related climate risk, for a total of over US$1,800 million in potential revenue impact

To discuss water impacts in mining, Contact Raymond Philippe, Manager, Skarn Water.



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About Us

Skarn Associates is the market leader in quantifying and benchmarking asset-level greenhouse gas emissions, energy intensity, and water use across the mining sector.

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