Global Mining Firms Reveal Safety Plans for Tailings Dams After Deadly Brazil Disasters

By Shriya Ramakrishnan and Sangameswaran S. | June 10, 2019

Global miners BHP Group, Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc revealed details on tailings dams, months after ethical investors sought the information following a second deadly dam disaster in Brazil.

BHP, which operates 67 tailings facilities, said on Friday it has set up a tailings taskforce to further improve its focus on internal dam management and boost safety.

The world’s biggest miner added that a review undertaken to assess the management of tailings facilities following the 2015 Samarco disaster, which killed 19 people, had identified no immediate concerns regarding dam integrity.

The collapse of Vale SA’s Brumadinho dam in Brazil in January that killed over 200 people also raised questions about the safety of tailings dams around the world.

Anglo American on Friday also published details of its 91 managed tailings storage facilities (TSFs) and additional 62 facilities at its joint venture operations, and said it was working on technologies to reduce the volume of waste materials produced.

Glencore launched a page on its website that gave detailed information of its TSFs and said that Klohn Crippen Berger, one of the world’s leading experts on TSF assurance, independently audits and assesses the integrity and safety of the company’s TSFs.

Earlier this year, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an industry trade group whose members include Glencore, BHP and 25 others, said a committee will review and set standards for tailings dam design and maintenance by the end of the year.

ICMM said in March it was working with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) to develop new standards for tailings dams.

The PRI brings together ethical investors, including the Church of England, overseeing around $80 trillion worth of investments.

In April, ethical investors working on a global standard for tailings dams had written to 683 listed resource companies, including major miners, asking for information to be made public within 45 days about every facility they control.

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan and Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Shailesh Kuber)


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