Each project requires the approval of an Environmental Impact Report which must be updated every two years. This report involves regular environmental monitoring activities and ongoing consultation with local communities and regulatory authorities. Monitoring activities address flora and fauna surveys, surface and ground water, soil quality, gas emissions, air quality, environmental noise, sewage, and industrial waste. Carrying out these studies has become a great opportunity to engage with local communities and identify opportunities to develop shared value. Our Environmental Policy is available on our website.
We have always monitored our energy and water use from an ongoing operational improvement perspective. Our customers and investors are also increasingly interested in our environmental impacts and in particular, the water and energy use and carbon emissions intensity of our Olaroz Lithium Facility operations. We monitor water related risks associated with our operations and have assessed each site against the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas database. None of our operations are located in areas of high water stress.
This is the first year that we have included key performance indicators from our Borax Argentina operations in this report. We have also carried out an external check of a selection of our key environmental performance indicators in preparation for third party assurance.
There are two water extractions: brine from the salar and industrial water (groundwater) which is treated and used for processing. Water is returned to the evaporation ponds after processing to recover residual lithium. There are no discharges to the environment.
Energy is generated by the natural gas generators to power processes in the production plant and provide electricity for the camp.
There are 3 main emission sources; energy generation, process emissions and transport related emissions.
There were no environmental notices of violations (NOV) or fines issued for any of our Olaroz Lithium Facility or Borax Argentina sites during the reporting period.
We do not extract any fresh water at the Olaroz Lithium Facility. Industrial groundwater is collected from wells for the following uses at our site. The ion-rich wastewater that is produced from our reverse osmosis plant is reused in the lime plant and pond areas. During the reporting period, we implemented a new KPI for measuring the amount of water that is recirculated in our operations at the Olaroz Lithium, recording 111,190 m3 of industrial water reused.
Our operational water intensity this year was 43m3 of water extracted per tonne of lithium carbonate produced. This is an improvement of 10.7% in water intensity compared to the previous financial year.
During the reporting period we have made significant progress increasing the consistency of our water reporting at our Borax Argentina sites. Several flow meters have been installed across our operations to improve monitoring and increase consistency and efficiency. This year, we used approximately 158,674m3 water across our Borax Argentina operations and camp. This equates to around 3.4m3 of water used per tonne across our mix of Borax products produced. The breakdown of water use by type is shown in the figure below.