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New tailings standards won’t be finalised by March deadline

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New tailings standards won’t be finalised by March deadline

The head of the world’s largest mining trade group said on Tuesday that new standards for mining waste dams likely will not be finalized for another month, citing logistical constraints and the prospect that coronavirus could make it harder for experts crafting the rules to meet.

The rules are aimed at improving the safety of supersized waste dams, which have drawn global scrutiny in the wake of the fatal collapse of a Vale SA dam in Brazil last year.

An eight-person panel backed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the U.N. Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment released draft standards for tailings dams last fall.

The standards were open for public comment until the end of last year and were expected to be finalized by March.

“We’ve had difficulty scheduling meetings that work for everyone and I’m beginning to become a bit concerned that coronavirus is going to affect our ability to continue to meet,”

ICMM Chief Executive Tom Butler told Reuters.

“But I think it’s fair to say it’s imminent, so in the next month or two we’d hope to have a final standard ready for launch.”

The review was launched after the collapse of a Vale tailings dam near the town of Brumadinho in January 2019 that killed more than 250 people.

The ICMM last fall voiced concerns about the draft standards, especially how the rules could apply equally to new and existing facilities. However, panel chair Bruno Oberle has said the new standards should take into account the difficulties of making existing dams compliant.

Originally published by Reuters.

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

Register for this FREE webinar

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FAQ:

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?

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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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