Emily O’Hara

Emily O’Hara

Company: New Gold

Job title: Manager, Water Strategy & Stewardship


Emily O’Hara is a professional Water Resource Engineer, with over 12 years of experience in the mining industry. She is currently the Manager, Water Strategy and Stewardship for New Gold Inc, and is based in Kamloops BC. Her experience has primarily been water balance modelling, operational mine water management, water mitigations for operations and closure, Indigenous engagement and permitting.

Emily recently took part in our speaker Q&A. Hear what she has to say below:

  1. Why should mining companies prioritise water stewardship in the age of critical resources? It is not enough to say, “you need these critical minerals, let us mine”. The expectations of communities, Indigenous Peoples, regulators, investors, employees, and partners require that water is managed appropriately and that companies are moving towards water stewardship. Additionally, implementing good stewardship of water at the earliest stages has the potential to improve long term business outcomes.  
  2. Why does the industry need to adapt its water management strategy across the whole life of a mine?  The impacts to water at mine sites are long lasting and often extend far beyond the end of active mining and active closure. Discounting closure costs has allowed the industry to limit its effort towards preventative management of water issues, however as prediction tools improve and as mines begin implementing water treatment, there is more and more drive to build better mines that limit long term liability.  
  3. What can we expect from your contribution at the 2023 Water in Mining Global Summit?  I am sharing an experience where climate associated flooding resulted in mine plan impacts, and how the teams pulled together to excel under crisis.  
  4. Tell us about an exciting project or change you’ve been working on to improve water management or stewardship in the industry As part of developing a Water Stewardship Framework, I am helping sites implement Water Teams. We’re working through different options to build these teams around what the sites and company needs to ensure they are working effectively and adding value. Breaking down silos between departments is a challenge, but the opportunities once that is achieved are extensive.
  5. Why is it important for the industry to come together at the Water in Mining Global Summit? The mining industry has a history of a lack of transparency. This needs to change to improve public perception, investment, hiring, and the future of the industry. Learning from other operations is a step at collectively improving our performance.  
  6. What are you most looking forward to when you attend the Water in Mining Global Summit? Spending time with new and old colleagues and meeting new connections, while talking about what I think is the most interesting and exciting part of mining! 


Emergency crisis planning: managing flooding events 1:30 pm

Using water balance models to forward plan, prepare and respond to extreme weather. Sharing lessons learned to minimize impact to local communities, reduce environmental damage and protect mine operations.  Chaired by Lesley Warren, Director, Lassonde Institute of Mining Read more

day: 26 April 2023