ESG

Independent review of tailings storage facilities launched

The International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), the Principles for Responsible Investment and the United Nations Environment Programme have decided to co-convene an independent review of mine tailings storage facilities in response to the recent Brumadinho tragedy in Brazil.

Staff reporter
The Brumadinho tragedy in Brazil has triggered a review of all mine tailings storage facilities

The Brumadinho tragedy in Brazil has triggered a review of all mine tailings storage facilities

Professor Bruno Oberle will chair the review, and a multi-stakeholder advisory panel will also be appointed, consisting of non-governmental organisations, international bodies and responsible investors.

The chair will also be able to draw on the experience of an expert panel of tailings and dam specialists drawn from academia and industry.

The review will be informed by evidence and lessons from the Brumadinho disaster, as well as other mine tailings dam failures and ultimately establish an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities that can be applied to all tailings dams globally.

The chair will oversee every aspect of the review and prepare a report to be published by the end of the year.

Oberle said the review had a responsibility to the people of Brumadinho to get it right.

"My objective is clear: I will oversee a comprehensive review of the current situation and draw up a new international standard for tailings storage facilities that draws on the best practice from around the globe," he said.

Oberle has years of experience in the environmental space and is currently the Green Economy and Resource Governance chair, academic director of the International Risk Governance Center at L'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, a panel member of the International Resource Panel and a member of the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

He was also previously the Swiss Secretary of State for the Environment and director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

ICMM CEO Tom Butler said the new standard agreed on by the review would be mandatory for all ICMM members and adopted at all their operational assets globally.

"I hope that non-members will sign up to the standard too," he said.

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