The evolution toward TSF performance monitoring

The industry has mapped a 10-year path toward a genuine step-change in best practice

There is no escaping the significance of what happened on January 25 this year at Vale's Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The failure of the operation's tailings facility killed some 250 people and,with 25 still missing, the eventual death toll will inevitably movehigher.

Adriaan Meintjes, SRK Consulting
The incident has triggered a major, industry-wide and cross-organisational response to tailings storage facility (TSF) best practice in a manner not dissimilar to the safety and security response to the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

Along with a government investigation, the International Council on Mining and Metals launched a full-scale review of tailings management, co-chaired by the United Nations environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment. Consultants such as SRK have been inundated with queries from a mix of concerned stakeholders. Mining companies are undertaking greater fiduciary risk assessments around their TSFs.

Authors: Adriaan Meintjes | Partner and Principal Civil Geotechnical Engineer

SRK Africa