Balancing water supply
Our business operations require significant volumes of water. We endeavour to implement the most efficient water management methods and best practices in order to handle both mine water and freshwater in a rational and sustainable way. EVRAZ is committed to reducing the volume of water consumption, which is in line with our HSE Policy. Responsibility among executive management for achieving water-related goals and implementing tasks is consolidated within the framework of our HSE management structure, which involves the Board of Directors dealing with water risks management issues among other tasks. EVRAZ, being a member of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), actively engages in dialogue on environmental issues, including those related to water management. Thus, we dedicate substantial efforts to treat our effluents, so they could be used for production needs instead of freshwater.
Most of our business operations do not take place in water-stressed regions. Although EVRAZ does not pose any substantial risks on availability of water resources, we strive to minimise any potential impacts our operations may cause by reducing water intake. We take in freshwater from surface water bodies, groundwater wells, and public water networks for production processes, equipment cooling needs, fire safety, as well as for drinking and household purposes. Almost 95% of total freshwater intake for production needs relates to major steel factories: EVRAZ NTMK, EVRAZ KGOK, and EVRAZ ZSMK (including Evrazruda). Around 90% of these factories’ freshwater intake is covered by surface water, including from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Total water consumption in 2020 at these sites stood at 205.7 million m3, with freshwater making up over 95.2% of this demand. In 2020 the total volume of freshwater consumed for production purposes was 206.2 million m3, 0.9 million m3 higher than in 2019.
For safety reasons we also pump mine water (quarry water) out of mines and open pits at our coal and ore mining sites. Mine water is produced when groundwater of various aquifersmixes and interacts with the air in the mine and rocks uncovered by mining excavations. We are unable to fully control or forecast the volume of this water, as it is a natural phenomenon. We strive to use mine water for production needs instead of freshwater, however the volume of such water exceeds the volume needed at our mining assets. Also, the majority of our mines are located in remote areas that rule out any possibility of delivering surplus water to other consumers. In 2020 we used 24.3 million m3 (or 34.6%) of mine water for production needs instead of freshwater. The remaining volume, 45.8 million m3 (65.4%), was discharged into water bodies. In line with our water-related Environmental strategy goal, mine water is treated to remove pollutants introduced during mining.
We adhere strictly to legal requirements related to water discharges. In 2020 the total volume of water discharged was 125.3 million m3, 0.6 million m3 lower than in 2019. According to our Environmental strategy we aim to reduce our water discharges, which also contributes to lowering water intensity of EVRAZ. Overall water discharge intensity in 2020 stood up to 9.19 m3 per tonne of crude steel cast, however, 4.16 m3 per tonne of those are related to mine water. As mentioned above, mine water discharge is not controllable, because it is related to ensuring safety of workers by pumping groundwater out of mines. Water discharge intensity related to steel production totalled 5.03 m3 per tonne of crude steel cast. We also focus on industry median when planning our water discharges reduction measures.