Fortescue Wins Australian Water Association Award

Fortescue Metals Group's innovative approach to groundwater management at its Cloudbreak minesite has won national recognition through the Australian Water Association awards.

The Cloudbreak Managed Aquifer Recharge Scheme is one of the largest and most complex managed aquifer recharge schemes in Australia with a capacity of 25 gigalitres (GL) of water each year. It is also the first of its kind in a variable density groundwater setting and within a landscape with unique cultural and environmental value.

The scheme, called Papa Warringka (Nyiyaparli for Water in the Ground), is an innovative approach to mitigating environmental impacts related to surface discharge and dewatering drawdown while also conserving brackish water resources for future mine water supply.

First established in August 2008, the scheme has been operating as a sustainable closed system with zero surface discharge since September 2009. It comprises over 200 abstraction bores, ten in-pit pumps, 200 kilometres of pipeline, six major transfer or settlement ponds, 100 brackish injection bores and 20 saline injection bores.

The Australian Water Association has recognised the achievements of Fortescue's scheme, awarding it the national award for Infrastructure Project Innovation at its Ozwater'11 conference.

Fortescue Water Manager Doug Brown said his team was delighted to win such a prestigious award.

"Effective management of groundwater is both integral to the success of the mining operation and critical to social and environmental sustainability. It is an honour to be recognised by the Australian water sector for the work that has been achieved by the Cloudbreak Managed Aquifer Recharge Scheme," Mr Brown said.

The scheme also won the WA Water Infrastructure Innovation award in 2010.

Media contact:
Elizabeth Gosch
Fortescue Metals Group
Mobile: 0414 319 775