Frequently Asked Questions

Why has this review been convened now?

This review was co-convened by the International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) after the Brumadinho tragedy in Brazil.

What will it achieve?

The Global Tailings Review will develop an international standard for the management of tailings storage facilities. The standard will be determined by the review but, is expected to include:

  1. A new means of classifying tailings facilities by developing a transparent, consequence-based tailings facility classification system with appropriate requirements for each level of classification
  2. A new way of reviewing and evaluating risks at tailings facilities by developing a system for credible, independent reviews of tailings facilities
  3. Requirements for emergency planning and preparedness, and
  4. Accountability, corporate governance and information disclosure.

The review will also consider the governance of the standard, how to encourage its adoption by industry, and ongoing compliance with the standard. In addition, the review will recommend a mechanism to enable future improvements to the standard.

Who is involved?

The three co-convenors of the Global Tailings Review are the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme.

The co-convenors selected the chair of the review, Dr Bruno Oberle, and a multi-stakeholder advisory group made up of representatives of civil society, academia, business and multilateral organisations to advise Dr Oberle.

How will the co-convenors ensure that the review is independent?

The co-convenors, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), jointly selected Dr Oberle to chair the review. Dr Bruno Oberle will chair and oversee every aspect of the review.

A multi-stakeholder advisory group was then appointed with members drawn from civil society, academia, business and multilateral organisations. Dr Oberle has appointed an expert panel to conduct the research and compile the report and standard.

What steps are involved in the review?

The review will be split into two phases, a research and discovery phase and a reporting stage. Broadly, Dr Oberle expects to publish the scope of the review in early June and will spend the first phase in summer 2019 visiting sites, meeting key stakeholders and producing a first draft of the standard.

We envisage that by the end of summer 2019, the draft standard will be published for public consultation and will be sent to key stakeholders who will then comment and offer feedback on it.

Dr Oberle will then consider the responses to the public consultation and develop a final report that will provide a clear standard for the industry to implement. His final report and recommendations are expected to be completed by the end of December 2019.

Will you consult communities?

The review team will consult communities in a variety of ways. In the early stage of the review, Dr Oberle will visit a number of sites and meet with local community groups. In the second stage, after the draft standard has been published, the review team, with assistance from the co-convenors and the advisory group, will undertake a global online consultation as well as regional consultations which will involve communities and concerned stakeholders. The consultation feedback will be considered by the review team before the final standard and the review report is published.

When will the review be complete?

This review is expected to be completed by the end of December 2019.

How will the new standard be applied by the mining industry?

The widespread use of the standard is as important as the development of its content.

The new standard will be a requirement of membership for ICMM company members and will be applied to all their assets globally. The co-convenors of the review (ICMM, PRI and UNEP) hope that others will join in advocating for the standard to be adopted more broadly and become an industry-wide standard.

The review will consider the governance of the standard and make recommendations on how to encourage industry adoption and ongoing compliance.