5. Trusted user of air, land and water


Our approach to date

At both our steel and mining sites, we actively manage the risk of water contamination, to prevent risks to human health and the environment. Water treatment facilities play a vital role in managing our emissions to water, and improving the water efficiency of our operations.


Steel plants require water for cooling and processing, which is why many of our steel operations are situated on the coast, or close to major lakes, canals and rivers. Even where water is plentiful, we generally re-use our supplies many times before we discharge them: internal analysis has shown that some of our steel plants recycle each cubic metre of water as many as 75 times. Water treatment plays a vital role in improving the water efficiency of our operations, as well as managing our emissions to water.

Our sites measure the water withdrawn as well as the water discharged. The net use of water for every tonne of steel produced usually represents the amount of water lost during the steelmaking process, to evaporation. ArcelorMittal has disclosed information on its water use to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) annually since 2010.

In 2010, we carried out a water survey of 134 of our steel production sites. This found that 20 of our steel plants were located in regions that are already experiencing water stress or scarcity. The water initiative that followed has been described in our previous corporate responsibility reports. With the support of our global R&D division, we continue to look for further opportunities to recycle and re-use water where our sites identify water as an issue.  We intensify our monitoring according to the needs and circumstances of the areas in which we operate. In Brazil, for example, where pressures on water use are mounting, we carry out extensive monitoring of our water use and discharge, and we report on this in detail in the annual Brazil sustainability report. Our dedicated water treatment lab located in Asturias, Spain, also investigates the application of green technologies to minimise pollutants, and increase the life of our equipment.


Water used at a mine needs to be treated before discharge. Water also performs a broad range of tasks in the mine, including dust suppression, transporting tailings and, most importantly, concentrating the extracted minerals.  Some of our mines, such as the El Volcan mines in Mexico, use special thickeners to avoid the use of tailings ponds (see Land section), and are therefore much more efficient, since more water can be recirculated. This minimises land disturbance as well.

What's new?

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SD Update19.01.2017 Gender diversity award for ArcelorMittal Ostrava
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SD Update25.09.2016 Judiciary honour for social outreach work in Brazil
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