- Alastair Macfarlane (Chairperson)
- Adelle Coetzee
- John Wates
- Guy Wiid
- Dr Kym Morton
- Luis Alberto Torres Cruz
- Dr Graham Howell
- Elias Matinde
Call for expressions of interest on Tailings Facility Management Research.
The failure of the Brumaldinho tailings dam in Brazil, and other recent failures, has precipitated global attention on the design and stability of Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs).
This attention includes the work of the International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM), which has produced the Global International Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), which addresses issues beyond pure technical design and monitoring, but also covers topics and principles governing affected communities, emergency response, long term recovery and disclosure and information sharing. These topics result in a social, socio-economic and environmental focus, in addition to technical focus.
In addition, the SAIMM is participating in the Global Mining Professional Alliance (GMPA) Global Action on Tailings Group, which is promoting and coordinating global research, which will then translate into learning and training, and appropriate competency development and registration of professionals.
This shift requires research work to be conducted on all of these aspects, as well as in terms of design, monitoring and management.
The ICMM Standard gives global guidance on these issues, so that this can be cascaded to local or regional standards and guidelines. In this regard the SAIMM has partnered with the South African Council of Civil Engineers (SAICE), to revise and update the South African Standard on mine residue deposits, which is SANS 10286, which was last revised in 1998.
This revision will then inform the potential development of a Southern African Code for TSF management.
All of this work has been moved to a higher level as a result of requests for more disclosure from investors and NGO’s, and the raising of the issue to Board level, where the probability of failure may appear low, but the potential impact of failure could be catastrophic.
The content of the GISTM has impact on many issues that have previously not been considered in depth, to highly technical issues concerning design and monitoring. This involves work in the fields of instrumentation, management, geotechnical and civil engineering design, soil mechanics, metallurgy, engineering and social sciences. Ultimately, it requires research into the mine of the future where tailings dams are not constructed.
The call for interest requests that tertiary institutions express their level of support and involvement in research in this area, and the identification of research topics.
Additionally, it requests industry to support the research initiatives, through the identification of research topics and the resourcing of research in this area which is of importance to the collective mining industry in Southern Africa.
The research is also of interest to all stakeholder groups, and the aim of the SAIMM would be to provide a platform where open dialogue and independent research can be conducted.
Expressions of interest can be addressed to the SAIMM Secretariate.
Update note on Tailings Committee activities
This note is an update on activities of the SAIMM Tailings Group and the GMPA Global Action Group on Tailings.
Before illustrating progress on these groups, it is important to indicate that the Global Tailings Review conducted by the ICMM has resulted in the development of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, which is now finalized and published as a Best Practice Guideline. Although not mandatory for ICMM member companies, it provides a valuable framework which can also be used by non-ICMM members.
However, the GISTM has come in for some criticism from NGO groups, not least of which is Earthworks, who have concluded that the GISTM does not go far enough in protecting communities and the environment.
A book has also been published “Credibility Crisis: Brumadinho and the politics of Mining Industry reform” (Kemp, Hopkins) which also illustrates that the Standard came to represent a step change, yet also falls short.
A website has been established “Tailings News Alerts” (TNA) which published regular updates and reports on global tailings activity.
These illustrate the elevation to a significantly higher level of attention to tailings storage facilities worldwide, and is increasing the focus of investors on how mining companies are dealing with and managing their facilities.
For the Leading Source of Breaking News in Tailings and Tailings Storage Facilities,
visit TNA- Tailings News Alerts
Visualizing the Size of Mine Tailings
On January 25th, 2019, a 10-meter tall wave traveling 120 km/h, washed 10 million m3 of mining waste from the Brumadinho tailings dam over the Brazilian countryside killing somewhere between 270 and 320 people.
This was a manmade disaster, made from mining the materials we use daily. Every copper wire in your house, steel frame in an EV, or any modern appliance comes from mining.
Mining leaves behind waste in the form of tailings stored in dams or ponds around the world. This infographic takes a look at the estimated size of one part of this waste, tailings, visualized next to the skyline of New York City as a benchmark.