Global tailings review moves into research phase

11 June 2019 (Last Updated July 26th, 2019 10:17)

ICMM has put an independent committee of experts to develop an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities (TSFs), which comes in response to the tailings dam collapse at Vale's Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil this year.

ICMM has put an independent committee of experts to develop an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities (TSFs), which comes in response to the tailings dam collapse at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil this year.

Supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the ICMM is performing a global tailings review to establish guidelines that will form the basis of the standard.

The international standard for TSFs safe management can be applied to all tailings dams irrespective of the location and the company that operates them.

Global Tailings Review chair Dr Bruno Oberle said: “Engaging with people from civil society, academia, business and multilateral institutions has helped me to set out an ambitious work plan for the independent Global Tailings Review.

“After this, I will prepare a draft report and standard which will be published by the end of the summer. There will be widespread consultation on these draft findings in September and October. The responses from this will inform and strengthen the final standard and report before their publication early next year.”

The review is divided into three phases consisting of a research phase, consultation phase and development of a report.

The research phase consists of engagement with communities living and working near TSFs and evaluation of the best practices.

The consultation phase will focus on the standard draft documents published at the end of phase one. The research phase will include regional meetings and an online consultation.

“The responses from this will inform and strengthen the final standard and report before their publication early next year.”

In the final phase, Dr Oberle will look at the consultation responses and develop the international standard and submit a report by the end of this year.

The report will outline the broader recommendations to support the implementation of the standard and be published in early next year.

For the next two months, Oberle will visit tailings storage sites around the world, collecting feedback from local communities and workers.