The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) co-convened the Global Tailings Review to establish an international standard for the safer management of tailings storage facilities.
The resulting Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management was developed through an independent process chaired by Dr Bruno Oberle with the support of a multi-disciplinary Expert Panel and input from a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group. It involved extensive public consultation with affected communities, government representatives, investors, multilateral organisations and mining industry stakeholders.
Learn about those involved in drafting the Standard here:
A summary of the Global Tailings Review process is provided below. For more information, please refer the the introductory chapter of accompanying compendium Towards Zero Harm.
The review process took approximately 18 months: from the time when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and Principles for Responsible Investment made their public commitment to co-convene the Global Tailings Review, up until the launch of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management in August 2020.
The Global Tailings Review’s initial research phase included engagement with communities living and working near tailings facilities and evaluating current best practices from the mining industry. This research informed the development of the draft Standard. During this phase:
- The Chair travelled to the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil to see first-hand the tragic impact that the tailings dam failures at Corrego do Feijão and Samarco have had on the people, communities and the environment in Brumadinho and Mariana.
- The Chair and a member of the Expert Panel engaged with communities, companies and government representatives in British Colombia, Canada to learn how their tailings are regulated and managed.
- The multidisciplinary Expert Panel evaluated current best practices and lessons learned in the mining industry to make this Review as robust as possible.
- The multi-stakeholder Advisory Group and co-convenors provided consultative feedback on two initial drafts of the Standard, which resulted in refinements.
The Review’s global public consultation phase ran between 15 November 2019 – 31 December 2019. During this period, feedback was collected from a diverse range of stakeholders on the draft Standard. A broad and inclusive approach to the public consultation was taken and included:
- An online consultation in seven languages.
- A number of in-country consultations across mining jurisdictions in both the northern and southern hemispheres, including Kazakhstan, China, Chile, Ghana, South Africa and Australia.
- Four webinars focused on ESG and technical aspects. They were held in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
- More than 600 individuals and organisations participated in the public consultation process – 200 submissions were made online, and approximately 430 individuals participated in the in-person consultations.
In the final phase, Dr Oberle and the Expert Panel considered the consultation responses and finalised the Standard.
The Global Tailings Review is committed to transparency and the Chair has published 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 Standard.