The International Council of Mining & Metals has promised a review to establish an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities.
Co-convened by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it’s hoped the standard can be applied to all tailings dams where ever they are located and whoever operates them.
The review will be chaired by Professor Bruno Oberle. Set up in response to the Brumadinho tragedy in Brazil, it will be informed by evidence and lessons from this disaster as well as earlier mine tailings dam failures.
Professor Oberle will oversee every aspect of the review and prepare a report which is expected to be published by the end of the year.He commented: “This is a demanding role and we have a responsibility to the people of Brumadinho to get this right. My objective is clear: I will oversee a comprehensive review of the current situation and draw up a new international standard for tailings storage facilities that draws on the best practice from around the globe.”
Professor Oberle is Chair for Green Economy and Resource Governance and Academic Director of the International Risk Governance Center at L'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, a panel member of the International Resource Panel and a member of the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He was previously the Swiss Secretary of State for the Environment and Director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.
In addition to the appointment of a chair from outside the mining sector, the independence of the review will further be assured by the appointment of a multi-stakeholder advisory panel consisting of non-governmental organisations, international bodies and responsible investors.
The chair will also be able to draw on the experience of an expert panel of tailings and dam specialists drawn from academia and industry.
Tom Butler, CEO of ICMM, commented: “Professor Oberle clearly has the right credentials to lead this review. The new standard that the review agrees will be mandatory for ICMM members and adopted at all their operational assets globally. I hope that non-members will sign up to the standard too.”