The annual water treatment market for hard-rock mining (i.e., iron, copper, gold, nickel) will grow 85 percent over the next five years, from roughly $9 billion in 2014 to $17 billion by 2019, according to a forecast by Bluefield Research.
The projected growth is driving increased competition across the sector’s highly fragmented competitive landscape. Demand has sparked activity amongst a host of leading water management and treatment providers — including GE Water, Suez, Veolia Water and Pentair — as they jockey for market share through M&A, partnerships and value chain repositioning, the report says.
In addition, Bluefield Research notes that stricter regulations on water usage globally are expanding opportunities for new market entrants — such as Aqualia, Doosan, Acciona and Valoriza — to supply mines with desalinated water. Highlighting this opportunity, more than $15 billion of large-scale desalination plants and supply pipelines dedicated to mining are in development.
The market for desalination pumps, valves, filters and chemicals will top $5 billion in 2015, according to the McIlvaine Company, aggregating forecasts from several of its reports.
According to Bluefield Research, as of 2012 the 15 leading mining companies worldwide used more than 25 million cubic meters per day of water, of which 62 percent was treated and recycled. In addition, revenue per cubic meter withdrawn varied greatly by company, ranging from a best-in-class $344 per cubic meter for BHP Billiton down to $19 per cubic meter for Newmont.