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Miners want radical change in tailings facilities

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, February 28, 2019
Miners want radical change in tailings facilities

Tom Butler, head of UK think tank International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), secured a dam safety agreement with the CEOs of some of the largest mining groups worldwide.

On the sidelines of this week's BMO Metals and Mining Conference in Florida, Butler reportedly told Reuters on Tuesday that the council members have committed to radical change for the industry in the safety of tailings facilities by developing a recognized international standard for associated companies.

The move follows the late-January collapse of the tailings dam at Brazilian iron ore producer Vale's Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais.

According to ICMM, there are currently no established global standards for the mining industry defining what a tailings dam is, how to build it, and how to care for the structure after its decommissioning.

On Wednesday, ICMM announced its governing council of 27 member CEOs will establish an independent expert panel to deal with the issue.

"The standard will be informed by a review of current global best practices in the mining industry, and beyond," the council said in a statement.

The Brumadinho dam collapse comes just over three years after the notorious November 2015 Samarco dam failure, which killed 19 people.

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