A constant call for reduced dust levels is another result of more rigorous environmental management requirements. Unfortunately, this just exacerbates the water situation (discussed in detail in the July issue of International Mining) calling, as it does, for greater use of water. In Chile, once again, where so many of the good examples of water management are to be found, La Coipa gold mine of Cia Minera Mantos de Oro, a subsidiary of Kinross Gold, has cut the amount of water used for dust control by nearly two thirds while simultaneously reducing dust emissions by more than half, with help from GE.As a result, the mine conserves some 12 million gallons (49.4 million litres) of water annually, reducing the impact in a highly water-stressed area. The company also reduced operating expenses by $54,000 and improved overall safety conditions. Located about 1,000 km north of Santiago and 140 km northeast of Copiapo, the open-pit mine sits in the Atacama Desert, one of the world’s driest. Mining is the major economic activity in the region, accounting for more than 83% of regional exports and nearly half of regional gross domestic product. While the region’s mining industry contributes significantly to Chile’s position as a leading mining nation, it also consumes 70% of the region’s water, so conservation is critical.“Our use of GE’s dust control solution has led to great operational and safety benefits and significant cost savings,” said Rolando Cubillos, Mine Operations Manager. “The reduction in water use has been significant, enabling us to positively contribute to water conservation efforts in the mining region of Atacama. We will continue to explore water re-use and conservation strategies as part of our commitment to the environment and our community.”GE has awarded La Coipa an ‘ecomagination’ Leadership Award to recognise its noteworthy reductions in water consumption and fugitive dust emissions, brought about with the help of a dust suppression strategy centred on GE’s DusTreat DC9112 organic binding agent.Watering dusty roads to suppress dust can be wasteful because it must be repeated frequently and it also can create slippery roads, which are a safety hazard. La Coipa’s problem roads are first graded and conditioned. Then, water trucks apply a solution of water and DusTreat DC9112. Once the product has cured, it renders road surfaces hard, dust-free and non-slippery for an extended period. On an ongoing basis, as trucks travel the roads and create new dust, and eventually spill dusty material on the surface, all that is necessary is a light watering to rejuvenate the product.The GE ecomagination Leadership Award is given to less than 0.1% of GE’s water and process technologies customers that demonstrate significant environmental and economical performance improvements, striking a balance among today’s environmental, industrial and sustainability challenges. GE provides the industry with a complete set of water and process solutions to solve water challenges in mining applications, including dust control, pure water systems, BWRO/SWRO systems, process additives, cooling treatment, clarification and filtration, wastewater treatment, zero liquid discharge and boiler treatment.