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Tailings Reduction Roadmap

22 September 2022

In late 2018, ICMM company member CEOs set a long-term goal on tailings: ICMM members agreed to work collectively to advance progress over the next 10-15 years towards developing improved and cost effective alternatives to conventionally manage tailings storage facilities that will reduce the risk of catastrophic failure. This challenge is complex.

  • Tailings production is inherent to mining and metals processing and will remain so for the foreseeable future. But, as the catastrophic tailings dam failures at Mount Polley (Canada) in 2014, Samarco (Brazil) in 2015 and Brumadinho (Brazil) in 2019 starkly remind us, there is still much more that needs to be done to improve performance and demonstrate transparency on tailings.
  • The Tailings Reduction Roadmap provides strategic directions on how to accelerate the development and adoption of technologies capable of reducing tailings production. It includes information on different technologies and their readiness level to allow operations to identify quick wins, medium-term opportunities and long-term results.
  • The challenges and opportunities outlined in the Tailings Reduction Roadmap have been identified collectively by stakeholders interested in progressing tailings reduction technologies. Being part of the ICMM Roadmap process has meant that no single party has needed to address all challenges alone. 
  • The Tailings Reduction Roadmap is a dynamic tool, and as such, will need to be updated iteratively as projects evolve and more information becomes available. We hope that through the Roadmap and the publication of progress on the various initiatives further interest can be generated to promote other collaborative initiatives.