The Argyle Diamond mine is located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It sources water from Lake Argyle, which is protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The mine has been working to reduce its use of water from Lake Argyle as a result of the lake’s high environmental values, and in line with overall best practice.
The biggest user of water at the Argyle mine is the processing plant, where it is used to wash and separate the diamonds. Instead of discharging this water to the environment, more than 40 per cent is now captured and recycled back through the processing plant. The mine also dewaters from the underground mine and from the surface pit operation into two dams. This water can be used for drinking and in operations. Water is also captured and recycled from mine tailings.
By making these changes to water usage, Argyle has achieved a 95 per cent drop in water use from Lake Argyle since 2005. Argyle was using more than 3,500 megalitres (ML) from Lake Argyle to run its operations in 2005. By 2009, this had dropped to 300ML.