Anglo American has published details of its 91 managed tailings storage facilities (TSFs) and an additional 62 TSFs at non-managed joint venture operations in which it has an interest.
This was in response to the request by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council on Ethics for the AP Funds, representing 96 institutional investors.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, commented: “We have confidence in the integrity of Anglo American’s managed TSFs which are subject to the highest global safety and stewardship standards, using appropriate advanced technologies such as satellite monitoring, fibre optics and micro-seismic sensors.
“As an industry, we have a clear ethical and moral imperative to do everything possible to ensure that tailings storage facilities are managed to the highest standards of safety as we work together, as an industry, to build greater levels of trust with all our stakeholders.”
Looking to the future, Cutifani said Anglo is working on a number of technologies to significantly reduce the volume of waste material it produces through mining activities.
“We’re looking at our ability to remove water from that material and store it in drier form – improving its stability and further reducing associated risks,” he added. “A number of these technologies also offer major energy and fresh water usage reductions for every ounce or tonne of metal or mineral we produce.”
Anglo American completely revised and updated its technical standard for TSF safety management in early 2014. The standard is updated as appropriate and goes beyond regulatory and other industry requirements in all host jurisdictions. This mandatory global standard mitigates the long-recognised principal risk that TSFs pose, sets minimum requirements for design criteria, monitoring, inspection and surveillance, and was peer-reviewed by international specialists.
Anglo American has also received assurances from the operators of non-managed joint ventures in which Anglo American has an interest relating to the safety of TSFs at those operations.
Of the 91 TSFs managed by Anglo American, 40 are in active use, 33 are inactive or in care and maintenance, and 18 are closed or rehabilitated. In terms of the method of tailings storage, 39 use wet deposition while 52 use either dry-stacked or in-pit deposition.