The preservation of water is the fundamental premise of Minsur’s activities. It is for this reason that we design all of our operations to make efficient use of this important resource.
In the San Rafael unit, water used in the plant operations is treated in a metals precipitation process. Then it goes to a sedimentation stage, which uses flocculants. Once the sedimented solids and metals have precipitated, the clarified water is returned to the environment. This treated water is of good quality (class 3), suitable for animal consumption and irrigation, and is used in agriculture with excellent results.
In addition, the quality of the water returned to its source is rigorously monitored. This is carried out using online control systems at the discharge point. The quality of the water is monitored at 7 monitoring points. Two water samples are taken daily for analysis of the metal content and total solids. Each month an external laboratory also performs monitoring and developing participatory environmental monitoring.
Pucamarca mine does not use Tacna’s’ water for consumption (or from the basin of the Caplina or Uchusuma outlet). They obtain water resources that they require for their operations from the basin of the Azufre River, which is unsuitable for agricultural or livestock use. Consumption is minimum (less than 32 Liter/sec), then it permanently circulates in a closed-circuit production system which does not emit effluents to the environment.
All water infrastructure close to the operation (Uchusuma outlet and Huaylillas tunnel) is fully protected from any environmental impact. In Pucamarca an underground wall has been constructed which makes it physically impossible for any substance to make contact with Tacna´s water. Also, all the structures have different levels of protection against any eventuality: the Leaching pad and the rich solution and major events pools have different layers that protect the soil, as well as capping channels in case of rain.
In addition, monitoring pools have been installed and a Network of monitoring wells for groundwater in the area of the pad and the pools. Likewise, a network of sub-drains in the pad and in the plants allows for the control of the phreatic layer.