Establishing an international standard for the safer management of tailings storage facilities

Global Tailings Review

The catastrophic failure of a tailings storage facility at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019 is a human and environmental tragedy. When the dam collapsed, shortly after noon, 11.7 million cubic meters of mining waste surged through the mine site towards the local town and countryside below, resulting in over five miles of destruction. As of 29 December 2019, 259 people have been confirmed dead, and 11 are missing. This is a stark reminder that, while the mining and metals industry has come a long way in improving how it operates, there’s still much more that can be done to safeguard lives, improve performance and demonstrate transparency.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) share a commitment to the adoption of global best practices on tailings storage facilities. They have co-convened this global tailings review to establish an international standard. This review is being led by Dr Bruno Oberle.

Statement on Global Tailings Review

The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management has been endorsed by the co-convenors of the Global Tailings Review (GTR), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). The product of a rigorous, independent, multi-stakeholder process, the Standard will establish much needed robust requirements for the safer management of both existing and new tailings facilities globally.

The next steps are to finalise the accompanying reports which will provide additional detail, context, background and recommendations on the Standard. The Standard will be published once it has been translated and all accompanying documents are ready. We expect to publish these in the coming weeks.

About the Global Tailings Review

The Global Tailings Review is an initiative co-convened by the International Council on Mining and Metals, United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment.