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Third anniversary of the dam collapse at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho

24 January 2022

London, UK – Three years on from the catastrophic dam collapse at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho we remember the victims of this devastating event and think of the families and communities that suffered immense loss.  

Each year the anniversary is a powerful reminder to the mining and metals industry of the deep and tragic consequences when things go wrong. We must learn from this incident, constantly push for improvements, and do everything we can to embed responsible practices across our industry. Mining and metals operations are intertwined with the communities local to operations, and our responsibility to protect people and the environment is of the upmost importance.

Implementation of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management is vital to our industry’s continual improvement in the safe and transparent management of tailings facilities. The Standard established clear requirements for the responsible management of tailings facilities including requirements for independent oversight, and expectations around enhanced transparency and disclosure.  We are committed to working with our partners, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), to encourage its global adoption. As a first step, ICMM members have committed that all tailings facilities with ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very High’ consequence classifications will be in conformance with the Standard by August 2023 and all other facilities by August 2025.  

To encourage adoption of the Standard and to support companies in demonstrating conformance, ICMM produced Conformance Protocols that act as a guide for assessing implementation of the Standard’s requirements in a consistent way. Alongside this, we also developed good practice guidance on tailings management to enhance the management of new and existing tailings facilities, and strengthen the safety culture within companies. New training materials to help companies improve governance and engineering practices based on this guidance will also be freely available.  

Effective management of tailings facilities is vital to minimise the chances of any harm to people and the environment, but as we look to the future, we must also search for the innovations and partnerships that can help greatly reduce the need for tailings. Tailings innovation is a long-term goal that will require collaboration and leadership, and is central to ICMM’s strategy.