Standard on Tailings Management released

August 5, 2020 Mining Editor

The release of a Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management will help support the safe management of tailings facilities around the world. 

Australian companies actively contributed to the development of the Standard, which reflects Australian leading practice, standards and guidance.

The safety and health of our people and communities is the minerals industry’s number one priority.

While current tailings management practices in Australia are advanced and highly regulated, the industry is committed to continuous improvement as part of its culture of safe and responsible resource development.

The standard and forthcoming guidance will be reviewed in line with the Australian minerals industry’s commitment.

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The industry is supporting the development of advanced tailings specific training courses which include among others the Future Tails program at the University of Western Australia backed by MCA members BHP and Rio Tinto. 

These efforts will help ensure Australia has ongoing access to the high-quality expertise needed to ensure continued safe operation of tailings facilities into the future.

Tailings are fine grained solid residues left after minerals and metals have been extracted and are commonly transported as slurry and ‘thickened’ (to minimise water) prior to storage in tailings storage facilities or dams, either above or below ground. 

The Tailings Management Standard was developed through the independent Global Tailings Review, co-convened by the International Council on Mining and Metals, United Nations Environment Programme and Principles for Responsible Investment following the tragic tailings facility collapse at Brumadinho, Brazil in January 2019.

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