The 2006 expansion provided the opportunity to change how water was managed on site and initiated a series of site interventions to reduce the amount of freshwater abstracted from Lake Argyle, replacing it instead with lower quality water mainly abstracted from mine dewatering activities. The project involved the construction of two dams to collect the lower grade water, recycling in the washing process through the use of a retention pond, and consultation with traditional owners on the issues at hand.
At a capital cost of US$4,500,000, financed by Rio Tinto, the project achieved a 96 percent reduction in water abstraction from Lake Argyle between 2005 and 2011. It further reduced the cost of pumping water, and managed to recycle 40 percent of Argyle Mine’s water. The total volumetric impact of this project stands at 3,492,000m3/year.