Joint statement on Jagersfontein tailings failure from the co-conveners of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management
The failure of a dam containing mine waste – or tailings – in Jagersfontein, in South Africa’s Free State province, on 11 September was a tragedy that underscores the critical importance of responsible tailings management. We mourn those who lost their lives in the incident. All stakeholders – from companies to governments and investors – must urgently work to enhance the safety of tailings storage facilities across the globe.
The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), launched in 2020, strives to achieve the ultimate goal of zero harm to people and the environment. The Standard is a step-change in terms of transparency, accountability and safeguarding the rights of people affected by mining projects.
As the convenors of that Standard, ICMM, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are once again calling on wider investors, companies, communities and governments to join us in advocating for the Standard’s implementation by mining companies, whether public or private – across all existing and new sites, in all jurisdictions.
Simply put, anything less than every tailings facility on Earth being responsibly managed is just not good enough. While some companies including all ICMM members have committed to implementing the GISTM or equivalent standards, many other operators have yet to commit to doing so. We urge every mining company, everywhere, to immediately embrace the Standard as a top priority.
ICMM, PRI and UNEP
Statement on Jagersfontein Tailings Dam Failure
11 September 2022
We are dismayed and saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life following the failure of a tailings dam at the Jagersfontein diamond mine in the Free State of South Africa. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, and all those who have been impacted.
This loss in the Free State of South Africa is one more tragedy due to tailings dam failures around the world. The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management strives to achieve zero harm to people and the environment with zero tolerance for human fatalities. All ICMM members have committed to implementing this Standard across all of their operations, and all stakeholders need to continue to advocate for broad uptake and implementation to help prevent tragedies like the one at Jagersfontein.