Improved water quality and availability
The Project will improve the water availability and quality for people in the affected area. Recognising the importance of managing the effects of mining on water (and vice versa), this aspect of the Project has been extensively studied as part of the Feasibility Study and subsequent work. As is common practice with mining operations throughout the world, it will be necessary to maintain dry working conditions by pumping water continuously from deep tube wells around the mine site. To ensure that ground water levels are not unduly affected in the surrounding areas, some of this water is injected into the ground at a distance from the mine. This is a well proven and effective technique for controlling the extent of water table drawdown in existing mining operations elsewhere in the world. GCM has developed a comprehensive Water Management Plan which will ensure that clean water extracted to facilitate mining is a community asset. This water is to be distributed for irrigation, village and town reticulated water supplies, local industries, and power stations. Water will also be released in a controlled manner into seasonal water courses, rivers and wetlands to preserve the environment.
Increased agricultural output
Although the mine footprint is about 5,200 hectares (or 11km x 3km) only about a third of the land will be used for mining at any one time. The remainder will remain in productive use either prior to mining or following rehabilitation after mining. Currently farmers in the area are only able to achieve two crops per year. As a result of year round irrigation, improved water quality, improved inputs and improved farming practices it will be possible to produce three crops per year with higher yields than at present.