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Frost & Sullivan Forecasts Growth in Mining, Food and Beverage Water and Wastewater Treatment Markets

The market for water and wastewater equipment and technology will continue to expand in the mining and food and beverage industries, according to two new Frost & Sullivan studies.

CEO 360 Degree Perspective of the Global Mining Water and Wastewater Treatment Market finds that the market earned revenues of $2.29 billion in 2011 and estimates this will reach $3.60 billion in 2016.

Analysts attribute this growth to the mining boom, which Frost & Sullivan says shows no signs of abating. Increased volumes of water consumption and wastewater generation will be the likely result.

The report forecasts that mining companies will invest more in advanced water and wastewater treatment technologies. It also predicts sustainable business models to mitigate increasing water stress will become more important.

Unlike manufacturing sectors, mining operations are fully reliant on the location of the ores, with limited options to mitigate and adapt to regional water scarcity or quality impacts. In addition to limited availability of water, Frost & Sullivan expects climate change and intensification of extreme weather conditions to increase water-related concerns in many metal- and mineral-rich regions.

In some instances, the water supply shortage can be overcome through reusing processed water and wastewater in different mining processes. Depending on mining wastewater quality, more than 90 percent can be reused by applying advanced treatment technologies, such as reverse osmosis and microfiltration, according to the report.

Water reuse, combined with proper water management procedures, can enable the mining industry to save up to 40 percent of its daily freshwater intake, the study says.

A second Frost & Sullivan report, Analysis of the Water and Wastewater Treatment Equipment Market in the Food and Beverage Industry, finds that the market earned revenues of $288.7 million in 2011 and estimates this will reach $336.2 million in 2017 (see chart).

According to the analysis, media coverage and increasing pressure from consumers and environmental groups are driving food and beverage plants to implement more sustainable business practices such as on-site anaerobic treatment and energy recovery.

The report also says that while either state or federal environmental enforcement agencies require food processors to pay fines if their discharged wastewater exceeds permitted levels of toxicity, many medium to small food processors prefer to pay the surcharge rather than install expensive solutions.

Low-cost solutions are more cost-effective to implement, and will help drive installation of treatment equipment, according to analysts.

In July, GE said a successful pilot study showed that its water treatment technology can help beverage companies safely treat and reuse water to achieve 99 percent or higher recovery in their plants.

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