Advancing Water Innovation in Mining

Driving The Mining Industry’s Water Environmental Transition Through Innovation

Water-related challenges across the mining industry are significant and diverse, ranging from water scarcity to pollution and tailings management. Conflicts between competing water uses can exacerbate the problem and significantly impact local communities.

The mining industry is experiencing mounting pressure to improve their water environmental transition. This includes recycling and reusing water where possible, in order to ensure the long term viability of water resources.

There are up to 11,000 mining sites with urgent needs for effective water management in South Africa. However, there is a profound disconnect between the need for water innovations and the current market. Only a small number of mining companies have the budget and appetite for water innovation.

Isle delivered a project identifying and assessing the drivers, barriers and enablers to water innovation uptake in the mining industry. Our team uncovered why emerging technologies struggle to enter the market easily, and forecast the market demand for innovation uptake. We delivered policy recommendations to our client, the Water Research Commission.

Benefits of Approach/Innovation

Targeted Innovation Development: Enables tech developers to focus on mining segments with high demand and investment potential for water innovations.

Strategic Market Identification: Identifies how legal reforms and stronger enforcement of existing laws could help unlock significant market opportunities.

Resource Optimisation: Helps to efficiently allocate resources by focusing on onshore mining sites with urgent water management needs, maximising impact.

Informed Decision Making: Provides a clear understanding of market dynamics, facilitating informed strategic decisions for innovation deployment and development.

Specialist Services Involved:

Market Analysis: Isle identified key factors affecting water innovation adoption in mining, revealing a significant market need versus uptake gap.

Market Forecasting: Our team forecasted demand, identifying mining segments with investment capacity and willingness for water innovations.


Policy Recommendations: Delivered recommendations for the Government to effectively address the issue of ownerless, abandoned and derelict mines.

Calls to Action: Delivered calls to action to the mining industry to allocate realistic budgets over and above minimal water management.

Calls for Technology: Promoted active engagement with a diversified supply chain of technology developers and consulting engineers.

Key Contacts:

For enquiries and further information, please contact Jo Burgess, Head of Trial Reservoir at Isle Utilities.


Service Spotlight
Isle identified barriers, drivers and enablers to water innovation uptake in mining, forecasting demand and offering insights for better water management and innovation adoption.
Uncovered key drivers and barriers to mining’s water environmental transition and innovation adoption in South Africa
Forecasted demand, pinpointed segments ready for water innovation investment
Delivered actionable policy recommendations to foster innovation uptake
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