New Water Treatment Plant Supplies Drinking Water to PTFI Underground WorkersPrint Preview

November 15, 2017

No more plastic bottles and annoying caps for thirsty workers at PTFI's underground mines who now get their drinking water straight from the tap thanks to a new water treatment plant that purifies groundwater destined for the underground mine.

"This facility uses state-of-the-art technology and produces a high-quality potable water," said Tim Gibson, Maintenance Coordinator at PTFI and project manager for the water treatment plant. "It's a better way to provide quality drinking water to our employees."

The plant opened in July and initially was for use only by the Deep Mill Level Zone underground mine, but that quickly expanded to include the Deep Ore Zone mine and Truck Haulage operations. Work already is underway to further expand the water system to include the Big Gossan Mine and Grasberg Block Cave.

The proof of concept for purifying groundwater was the construction of facilities for Grasberg pit and maintenance workers in 2009 as part of an overarching effort to reduced bottled water site-wide.

"This reduces the carbon footprint by avoiding the transport of bottled water all the way from Jakarta to jobsite," said Mark Johnson, President and Chief Operating Officer-Indonesia. "We're going to expand this bottled water reduction initiative throughout the highlands."

The new plant purifies water through a process of reverse osmosis that eliminates hazardous substances found in the groundwater.

It should reduce and may even eliminate the consumption of bottled water for the mine, which had been the most efficient way of supplying water when available groundwater was unfit for drinking. It also helps improve the company's environmental impact by reducing the amount of plastic waste from bottled water.

Taking bottled water's place are refillable drinking bottles, which mine management is giving to employees to fill with the purified water from the plant.

"This plant is the product of great work by lots of organizations that actually recognized and acted upon the logistical and environmental challenges of providing some essentials to the workforce," said Steve Bennett, Vice President-Maintenance at PTFI.  

<- Go Back