Rio Tinto has released information on 14 of its global tailings facilities, along with its progress toward conforming to the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM).
Under GISTM classifications, the 14 facilities have been rated as very high or extreme, based on the potential consequences in the event of a failure.
“Since the tragic failure of the tailings facility at Brumadinho in Brazil in 2019, the entire industry has been working to improve the way we manage tailings facilities,” Rio Tinto chief technology officer Mark Davies said.
“Responsible tailings management is critical to ensure the safety of our people and communities and to protect the environment. It is fundamental for our business and social license. We have made considerable progress since August 2020 towards conformance with the GISTM. We have completed most of the work and have detailed plans to complete outstanding items.
“GISTM has meant a steep change in how the industry manages its tailings facilities. Good tailings management is also about transparent partnership, and we have been working with the local communities near our facilities to increase awareness of our management practices and how we can best work together to continue to keep people and the environment safe from harm.”
In May of this year, Rio and fellow major BHP invited expressions of interest for a range of new tailings technology partners.
Both companies said the ideas and technologies considered can be market ready for mining, can involve technologies previously applied in other resource-related industries, or can be original ideas at an early research and development stage.