The World's Wettest Mines: Measuring Precipitation at Mine Sites

Precipitation at Mine Sites - Rainfall

The mining industry faces increasingly complex challenges from the weather, climate change, and a global push to become more sustainable. But mining is complicated, restricting operations can cost millions of dollars and needed supply of metals. 

Weather and changing climatic conditions will affect mining operations and supporting infrastructure. As severe weather events continue to rise, companies and investors must consider the impact on equipment, employee safety, the availability of transportation routes, along with the price of water and energy supplies. 

Mining Intelligence looked at the annual average precipitation from over 3500 in operation mine sites around the world to reveal the world’s wettest mines.

Making it Rain: The World’s Wettest Mines

Top 10 Wettest Mines

Rank Property Total Avg Annual Prec. (mm) Climate


Ok Tedi











La Ye

El Bagre


Rain and Mining Operations

Mines and mining infrastructure are large and irreversible industrial projects with heavy capital expenditures, which are designed to operate for decades in challenging environments. Investors, engineers, and company management face an almost infinite variety of considerations and must balance the trade-offs between constructing lower risk designs and declining economic returns. 

As a result, this means that planning is very important to secure the long-term technical and economic sustainability of mining investments. Mine plans and investment decisions should capture the type and kind of uncertainty that surrounds a mining project, and understand the precipitation of a mine location is one such risk.

The risks of heavy precipitation include:

  • Land transportation route disruption
  • Degradation of roads
  • Disruption in delivery of input materials such as steel, timber, cement, hydrochloric acid, and cyanide, or consumables such as diesel, tires, and reagents
  • Tailings dam failures
  • Release of contaminated water into surrounding areas
  • Remediation costs
  • Increases in environmental liability
  • Impacts on community health and safety

If heavy rainfall leads to flooding, then this can lead to operational disruptions, which include mine closure, washed-out roads, and unsafe water levels in tailing dams. Experts observed 10 percent annual production losses from wet weather at an open-pit coal mine. 

Extreme weather also affects different commodities in different ways. For example, iron and zinc are the most exposed to  flood occurrences, at 50% and 40% of global volume at risk, respectively.

Without this knowledge or data, many investors and those who make decisions are making decisions blind.

Making Better Decisions with Data

Climate change increases the risk of more frequent and intense natural disasters that may damage mine, transportation, and energy infrastructure. As a result, these events disrupt construction and operations. With the rise in unpredictable, extreme weather events, the supply of critical inputs to mining processes, such as water and energy, is likely to face greater constraints.

While no one can predict the weather with certainty, it is important to know the conditions in which a mine operates to make appropriate plans and mitigate the risks of rain. Mining Intelligence can offer the data needed to make better decisions.

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