A NEW ZINC MINE IN THE IRANIAN DESERT WILL HELP ADD ECONOMIC DIVERSITY TO THE NATION’S OIL-DEPENDENT ECONOMY, WHILE THE MINE’S WATER-SUPPLY NEEDS CAN BE MET WITHOUT DAMAGING THE LOCAL AREA
The Mehdiabad mine, in Yazd Province of central Iran, is being planned to tap one of the largest undeveloped zinc resources in the world. One significant challenge is the mine’s need for water, some 300 liters of water per second, over the next 40 years. This is a major concern in an area that gets a scant 80 millimeters of rainfall each year.
The mine’s owners wanted to know how they could access the water resources they need without disrupting the fragile economy of the region, which includes pistachio-nut farming.
Commissioned to study the mine’s environmental impact and its expected effects on the local water supply, Golder first investigated surface water resources and found them virtually non-existent in this arid climate. The next step was to consider the groundwater resources, in the form of aquifers. These resources, however, are already being depleted by local residents and farmers, and any mine use would quickly push these people into severe hardship.
The solutions Golder recommended included the use of some potable water that is being piped to the nearby city of Yazd and the re-use of treated wastewater from the city.
This balanced approach will help our client meet the environmental guidelines established in the international Equator Principles, which are intended to help facilitate the financing of projects in the region that contribute to a sustainable future.