Great Panther faces tailings challenge in Mexico

Mining & Resources / Tailings Storage Facilities

Great Panther faces tailings challenge in Mexico

Key points:

  • Independent report showed evidence of mass movement underneath the site
  • To mitigate risks, the company has relocated certain residents near the Tailings Storage Facility
  • The tailings are being deposited at a permitted alternative locatio

Great Panther Mining Ltd. [GPR-TSX; GPL-NYSE American] has temporarily stopped tailings disposition at the Phase II storage facility at its Topia silver mine in Mexico. The company said it is reacting to an independent report that showed evidence of mass movement underneath the site.

The company said it is implementing precautionary measures to mitigate risks, including relocation of certain residents near the facility. Great Panther also said sit is now reviewing alternatives to store tailings while awaiting approval for its Phase III tailings storage site.

Great Panther shares fell almost 11% or $0.07 to 58 cents on Monday March 9. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 53 cents and $1.59.

Great Panther is a low-cost producer with a very strong leverage to the price of silver. The company operates three mines, including the Tucano Gold Mine in Amapa State, Brazil, and two primary silver mines in Mexico: the Guanajuato Mine Complex and Topia Mine.

The company was in the news recently when it approved a positive production decision for its 100%-owned Coricancha gold-silver-zinc-copper mine in Peru.

The Topia Mine, which accounts for approximately 15% of the company’s consolidated gold equivalent production is situated near the town of Topia in Durango Sate, approximately 235 km northwest of the city of Durango. The Topia Mine (silver-gold-lead-zinc) consists of several narrow-vein, underground operations, utilizing a modified cut-and-fill mining method known as “resuing.”

The mines are typically accessed by unpaved mountain roads leading to adits that either follow veins into the mountains or are driven to cross-cut them. The veins range from 15 to 150 centimetres wide, with an average of 30 centimetres. Broken ore is hauled to a central processing plant on the edge of town.

Great Panther produced approximately 147,000 consolidated gold equivalent ounces in 2019, a 182% increase from 2018. The increase was largely driven by the acquisition of the Tucano Mine in Brazil.

The Topia Mine produced 1.78 million silver equivalent ounces in 2019, an increase of 15% from 1.54 million ounces in 2018.

Mining and processing activities at Topia are expected to continue at current levels for several more days, with tailings being deposited at a permitted alternative location. Thereafter, mining activities will temporarily cease unless an alternative temporary storage solution can be found.

The company said any temporary tailings storage solution would be an interim measure pending the company receiving approval for depositing tailings on Phase III of the tailings storage facility or recommencement of stacking on Phase II if mitigation measures are available to permit its continued use.

Great Panther says it expects to release 2019 financial results and provide its annual production and cost guidance by the end of March, 2020.

In addition, at Tucano, after adjustments for mining depletion since June 30, 2017, mineral reserves are now estimated to be approximately 646,000 ounces, a decline of approximately 489,000 gold ounces relative to the June 30, 2017 estimate.

Mineral resources (excluding mineral reserves) declined by approximately 500,000 gold ounces.

Originally published by Resource World.

What is the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative?

Just days after the Brumadinho dam collapse, a group of investors co-led by the Church of England (CoE) Pensions Board and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) announced the Investor Mining and Tailings Initiative, calling on 727 extractive mining companies to disclose information on their tailings facilities to form a global independent database.

On the one year anniversary, the group launched the first public database on tailings storage facilities (TSF). Prior to that, there had been no central database detailing the location and quantity of tailings, and as a result, no clear indication on the number of tailings around the world.

What did this mean for the mining companies?

This presented mining companies with a massive challenge of assembling data-sets that were often large, complex and stored in several locations, or even lost with corporate knowledge loss.

One company estimated that it took one person (per site), six weeks to collect and prepare the data.

How can companies prepare for the next round of reports?

Launching the public database was the first step in providing transparency. The CoE and UNEP remain highly motivated to deliver change in the safe management of tailings facilities across the world, and as such will be making more calls for disclosures, and for the reports to be updated regularly.

Decipher is hosting a webinar, Church of England – Tailings: What’s Next?

Hear from one of the driving forces behind the database and learn about:

  • The Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative (insights, key findings, what’s coming, and how to prepare for the next round of questions)
  • The upcoming global tailings standards
  • Best practices and recommendations
  • Available reporting and monitoring tools

Watch this FREE webinar

Tailings Storage Facilities - TSF - Mining - Decipher - DecipherGreen - Tailings management - tailings dam monitoring - tailings storage facility software - environmental obligations software


What is the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative?

Following the recent tailings dam failures, The Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative was established by a group of institutional investors active in the extractive industries representing more than $13.1 trillion in assets under management. Governed through a Steering Committee chaired by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council of Ethics of the AP Funds, the group has called upon 727 extractive mining companies to disclose information in relation to their tailings storage facilities to form an online database.

How many companies have disclosed information about their TSFs?

As of the 20th of December 2019, 46 per cent of companies contacted responded to the request. 40 of the top 50 mining companies have made disclosures which has resulted in information about thousands of individual tailings dams being made public on company websites. All 23 of 23 publicly owned companies that are members of the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) responded and fully disclosed information about their TSFs.

How many tailings dams have had stability issues?

Company disclosures to investors have revealed that 10% (166 out of 1,635) of the tailings dams reported to have had stability issues in their history.

What tailings reporting and monitoring tools are available?

Tailings Storage Facilities - TSF - Mining - Decipher - DecipherGreen - Tailings management - tailings dam monitoring - tailings storage facility software - environmental obligations software - Church of England Tailings reports

Using Decipher, you can start to organise and store your tailings storage facility data in the one place, making it easier to prepare for the next round of Church of England reports:
– Easily visualise all of your sites and simply click on the dams to see all of the relevant data and reports
– Reduce confusion, human error, and inefficiencies in reporting by providing internal stakeholders with a central repository of data on your tailings facilities
– Access key data and information from multiple departments to take a holistic approach to your tailings reporting and monitoring
– Reduce the time spent and associated costs preparing reports by creating templates which extract relevant information in a particular format, such as the Church of England report
– Decipher is designed to be securely accessed by industry, regulators, designers and operators involved in the management of TSFs. Easily setup security access levels to ensure stakeholders only see information that is relevant to them, and apply business rules, approval layers and track changes to ensure data is correct
– A Single Sign-On (SSO) integration also ensures that users are managed more easily

Request a demo of Decipher’s TSF Monitoring & Reporting tool

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