In light of the recent tragic tailings dam disaster in Brazil, the Global Minerals Professionals Alliance (GMPA) will be taking a leading role on mine waste and tailings through its ‘Global Action on Tailings’ initiative.
The initiative was announced at a recent meeting of the GMPA – a collaborative partnership between leading professional organisations for minerals around the world – held in February 2019, in Denver, Colorado in conjunction with the 2019 SME Annual Conference & Expo.
In addition to examining tailings from the perspective of disposal and closure, the initiative will seek to advance discussions and solutions relating to tailings management, tailings reprocessing/repurposing, and ultimately moving towards tailings elimination.
Janice Zinck, President of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum said today, tailings management is the most pressing issue facing the minerals sector.
“Collectively, the GPMA has thousands of experts in all aspects of mining and milling relating to tailings generation, reprocessing and management, making its members well poised to address this complex topic from a scientific, fact-based perspective.”
Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) President Dr. Hugh Miller further added that over the next several months the GMPA organisations will collaborate on this initiative to develop working groups that can effectively address the significant challenges associated with tailings management at existing impoundments, as well as focus on the need to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the use of conventional surface tailings storage facilities
“As a Society, we have tremendous technical capacity to confront these challenges through our members and fully recognise the need for global collaboration to make substantive change.”
The approach will be multi-pronged, with the first step involving data collection and the dissemination of existing best practices, case studies, and research though a forthcoming GMPA Global Action on Tailings website.
AusIMM President Janine Herzig endorsed this initiative saying that the most recent tailings dam disaster in Brazil was a tragedy, and the AusIMM welcomed the report from a full inquiry.
“Australasia is respected as a world leader in best practice health, safety, community and environmental standards through a robust regulatory framework informed by sought-after mining health and safety experts,” Ms. Herzig said. “AusIMM continues to be committed to educating and promoting world class standards, and investing in the capability of professionals in the industry ensuring that all those who work in the resources sector continue to be safe and healthy.”
Tailings teams will be established in each of the participating GMPA organisations and experts on all aspects of tailings management and processing will be engaged in addressing this issue.
A think tank event will be held in Arequipa, Peru in September, 2019 in conjunction with PERUMIN — Convencion Minera.
The GMPA also hopes to work collaboratively with the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) which recently announced its intention to establish an independent panel of experts to develop an international standard for tailings facilities for its member companies.
The GMPA comprises of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), the Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers (IIMP), the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME)