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

24 January 2024

On 25 January 2019, 272[1] people tragically lost their lives when a tailings dam collapsed at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil. We remember the victims of this devastating tragedy, and our thoughts are always with the families who have suffered and continue to suffer an immeasurable loss as a result. 

This anniversary serves as a powerful reminder to all of us in the mining industry about the tragic consequences when something goes wrong and the need to remain focused on improving how tailings facilities are managed across the entire industry.   

As an immediate response ICMM, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) co-convened a multi-stakeholder review that led to the development of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). GISTM sets a high bar for the industry, with 77 requirements integrating social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations towards achieving the goal of zero harm to people and the environment. 

ICMM members committed to conform with the GISTM for tailings facilities classified as ‘extreme’ or ‘very high’ consequences by August 2023, and all other facilities by August 2025. We are encouraged by the significant progress on implementation of the GISTM so far.  

We have already seen transformative improvement across the global mining and metals sector as a result of wide adoption of the GISTM beyond ICMM companies. This includes the elevation of tailings management to the highest levels of company oversight and accountability, which has led to more transparent and meaningful engagement with key stakeholders. 

ICMM has also been supporting the work of PRI and UNEP to establish a body that will oversee conformance with GISTM and promote its continued uptake. Once established, the Global Tailings Management Institute (GTMI) will mark another milestone towards a shared goal of zero harm to people and the environment from tailings facilities. 

While focus must remain on implementing the Standard across our facilities, we will continue to examine innovative ways to reduce or in some instances even remove the need for tailings. Collaboration and strong leadership will be critical to this long-term goal. 

Notes

1. We previously reported 270. 272 includes two women who were pregnant.