Global Tailings Review opens public consultation period

The ICMM-backed Global Tailings Review has launched a public consultation on its draft Global Tailings Standard in order to “develop a robust, fit-for-purpose international standard for the safer management of tailings”.

The public consultation, which ends on December 31, will take place in two parts.

First: online via a survey which has been translated into seven languages. Second: in-country consultations across a range of mining jurisdictions in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Global Tailings Review was co-convened by the United Nations Environment Programme, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and Principles for Responsible Investment following the tailings dam collapse at Brumadinho, Brazil on January 25, 2019, to establish an international standard on tailings facilities management. The final Global Tailings Standard will need to be endorsed by all three parties.

The draft standard addresses six key topics:

  • Knowledge base – requires mine operators to develop knowledge about the social, economic and environmental context of a proposed or existing tailings facility;
  • Affected communities – focuses on the people living and working nearby. It requires human rights due diligence and meaningful engagement of project-affected people;
  • Design, construction, operation and monitoring of tailings facilities – aims to review design, construction, operation and monitoring of tailings facilities;
  • Management and governance – focuses on ongoing management and governance of tailings facilities. It defines a number of key roles, essential systems and critical processes;
  • Emergency response and long-term recovery – covers emergency preparedness and response in the event of a disaster, the re-establishment of ecosystems, and the long-term recovery of affected communities; and
  • Public disclosure and access to information – requires public access to information about tailings facilities in order for all stakeholders to be informed of the risks and impacts, management and mitigation plans, and performance monitoring.

“The review is committed to transparency and once the final standard is published, the Global Tailings Review will provide a consultation report that reflects feedback, key themes, topics and sentiments from different stakeholder groups, as well as how that feedback was processed and addressed in the final version of the standard,” the ICMM said.

It is expected that the final standard and accompanying recommendations report, which will outline broader proposals to support the uptake and implementation of the standard, will be published in 2020.