Water Footprint Assessment of Carbon in Pulp Gold Processing in Turkey

Guney E., DEMİREL N.

SUSTAINABILITY, vol.13, no.15, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 15
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/su13158497
  • Journal Name: SUSTAINABILITY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Aerospace Database, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: sustainability, water footprint, water footprint assessment, gold processing, sustainable water use, Turkey, water resource management, LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT, COPPER PRODUCTION
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This paper presents water the footprint assessment (WFA) of carbon in pulp (CIP) gold processing. The main objectives of the study are determining grey and blue water footprints and identifying the hotspots of the process. Results revealed that the total blue water footprint, including the extraction and processing of the gold, was found to be 452.40 m(3)/kg Au, and the grey WF to be 2300.69 m(3)/kg Au. According to the results, the lost return flow on the direct blue WF side has the largest contribution, with a value of 260.61 m(3)/kg Au, and the only source of the lost return flow is the tailing pond. On the indirect side, it is seen that the oxygen consumption used for the leaching process has the highest value, with 37.38 m(3)/kg. Among the nine contaminants in the mine tailings, the critical component responsible for the grey water footprint is by far arsenic, with a value of 1777 m(3)/kg Au. The results will be used to make recommendations for reducing water consumption in mining operations, for a better design for the environment. The study is a pioneering study, being the first implementation of water footprint assessment in a gold mine in Turkey.