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Review of Tailings Management Guidelines and Recommendations for Improvement

5 December 2016

The review focuses on corporate level tailings storage facility management across the ICMM membership, including standards, guidelines and risk controls, governance and emergency preparedness related to the prevention of and response to sudden catastrophic failure of tailings storage facilities.

  • Following the Samarco tailings dam collapse in Brazil in 2015 and the earlier Mount Polley failure in Canada in 2014, ICMM’s members convened a review of tailings storage facility standards, guidelines and risk controls. The review was undertaken by Golder Associates at the direction of ICMM and included external experts and member company representatives.
  • The review found that although member companies’ systems/guidelines may vary in terms of content and comprehensiveness, most have corporate guidance documents that meet and sometimes go beyond what would be good practice in tailings management.
  • Golder’s primary recommendation is that a tailings management framework, supported by a governance framework that meets minimum requirements, should be adopted by all members. ICMM subsequently developed a tailings governance framework that formed a foundation for a position statement, which sets out ICMM members’ approach to the governance of tailings storage facilities.