5. Trusted user of air, land and water

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

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Our sites measure the water withdrawn as well as the water discharged.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.

Mining

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?

News 21.09.2016 Steel goes circular: The Circular Building
Our Stories01.05.2016 Steel goes circular: re-using sheet piles
Our Stories01.04.2016 Collaboration on the Great Lakes
Our Stories01.04.2016 Getting on the front foot in Ostrava: dealing with dust
Our Stories01.04.2016 Fertile thinking: farmers benefiting from steel slag
Our Stories01.04.2016 Clearing the air: new products for indoor environments
Our Stories01.04.2016 New ideas, new technology: interns in Argentina
Our Stories01.01.2015 Engineering low-carbon solutions for buildings
Our Stories01.01.2015 Sustain Our Great Lakes
Our Stories01.01.2015 Measuring impact in South Africa
Our Stories01.01.2015 Liberia: Mobilising the response to Ebola
Insight30.05.2015 Steel packaging and the circular economy
SD Update19.01.2017 Gender diversity award for ArcelorMittal Ostrava
SD Update31.10.2016 Moroccan steelmaker heads for 90% wind-powered steel
SD Update10.10.2016 Largest exporter in Bosnia & Herzegovina
SD Update25.09.2016 Judiciary honour for social outreach work in Brazil
SD Update27.06.2016 ArcelorMittal assesses contribution to South Africa
SD Update16.05.2016 Nafta: review of 2015
SD Update13.05.2016 How does ArcelorMittal create value for society?
SD Update03.12.2015 Presenting lightweight solutions at Megatrends India
SD Update12.11.2015 The building you can build again and again
SD Update30.07.2015 Building for the future: the b home