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article imageVeolia expands water treatment services to mining industry

By Angela Atkinson     Apr 11, 2014 in Environment
Veolia Environnement SA (VIE), Europe’s largest water utility, plans to double sales to the mining industry to $2.1 billion by 2020.
Earlier this week, Europe’s largest water utility announced it is expanding water treatment services to the global mining industry, which is undergoing water scarcity and a tougher regulatory environment.
“The more the mining industry booms, the more mines are being located in areas where there are water shortages,” Veolia CEO Antoine Frerot said at a Wednesday press conference.
Scarcity and Environmental Impact
With stricter environmental regulations in place, the Paris-based utility said it expects higher revenue from treating water and waste from the mining sector. The energy industry also presents Veolia opportunities for revenue growth as well as increased profit margins.
These extraction industries are increasingly battling local populations and commercial interests over water rights. In the past two years, a few multi-billion dollar mining projects in South America were cancelled due to water disputes.
Energy Sector
On Thursday, French waste and water group Suez Environment announced it will expand its treatment services to the oil and gas industry. The company recently purchased Mining and Industrial Labour Services (MAILS), a company that specializes in treating waste from gold mines in Australia.
Veolia and Suez are looking to improve its profit margins from high-growth industries such as energy and mining. Its margins in the traditional municipal markets are shrinking.
More than 25 percent of bottled water comes from a municipal water supply, the same place that tap water comes from, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Approximately 400 billion gallons of water are used in the United States per day.
Globally, water and waste treatment are expected to be growth industries for years to come. Developed regions such as North America and Europe are imposing costly penalties for health risks and safety issues.
Consumer Water Supplies
A consumer drinking eight bottles of water per day can spend up to $1,400 dollars a year, according to the EPA. There are approximately 1 million miles of water pipeline and aqueducts in the United States and Canada, with an annual cost of nearly $4 billion to operate.
“Most municipal water systems use chlorine or chloramines to treat water which are chemicals designed to kill living organisms,” according to DeLand, Florida-based Pelican Water, a water purification company.
In one year, the average American household uses over 100,000 gallons of water, which amounts to 100 gallons of water per day for each person. In contrast, residents of sub-Saharan Africa use only two to five gallons of water per day, according to the EPA.
At 50 gallons per day, Europeans use about half the water compared to Americans.
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