Apr. 19, 2012
Underground water usage optimization study conducted at the San Cristobal mine
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and Sumitomo Corporation sponsored a joint study on underground water used in the mining process by Sumitomo Corporation's wholly owned subsidiary, Minera San Cristobal S.A. (MSC), which produces lead-silver and zinc-silver concentrates at its San Cristobal mine in Bolivia. On March 2, 2012, JOGMEC and Sumitomo Corporation presented the study's results at a local event.
At the event, which was attended by Japanese and Bolivian government officials and local residents, Bolivian Minister of Mining and Metallurgy Mario Virreira Iporre, praised the study, commenting that this highly scientific and technological study for the optimization of underground water is a significant contribution to the knowledge and development of Bolivia.
As a result of performing an in-depth study exceeding the level generally required for an environmental impact assessment(1), it was confirmed that the underground water used by MSC is unsuitable for agriculture, irrigation or human consumption, and therefore, the usage has no negative impact on the lives of local residents. It was also confirmed that the water level will recover naturally after a certain period of time, as the water's source is renewable. The ecological soundness of MSC's mining operations were thus endorsed by the findings. Based on the outcome of this study, additional initiatives will be launched, such as the efforts to increase the amount of water recycling in the natural system.
MSC has always proactively taken measures to protect the environment, including the construction of a large dome to cover its ore stockpile for the mitigation of dust dispersion, and the around-the-clock monitoring of its waste(2) transportation facilities. Sumitomo Corporation and MSC are determined to continue contributing to the safe development of Japan and Bolivia and the realization of a sustainable society and environment.
1 Environmental impact assessment: A series of procedures required to be undertaken when engaging in a large-scale development project to ensure appropriate environmental consideration. The procedures involve predicting, assessing and examining the impact of the project on the environment.
2 Waste: Muddy waste that remains after extracting the desired substances from the ore.