In this article:
The devastating failure of Brazil’s Brumadinho Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) in January 2019, which took 270 people’s lives, was the tipping point for the industry
- As a result of the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initative, mining companies have disclosed data in relation to their tailings storage facilities.
- See what score you get for your TSF management
- Download this FREE guide to learn about the chronology of events leading up to the Standard, The Standard and principles explained, implications for operators and available solutions to help implement the Standard
A catastrophic tailings failure in Brumadinho, Brazil in January 2019, was the tipping point for the mining industry and led to a series of step-changes towards greater transparency, better governance, and improved monitoring, reporting and disclosure of tailings data.Just two days after the tragic event in Brazil, a group of investors co-led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council of Ethics of the AP Funds, announced the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative. This initiative brought to the fore two key interventions: the development of a new Global Tailings Standard and the evolution of a TSF disclosure data repository.
An industry responseOn behalf of the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, GRID-Arendal, a non-profit environmental communications centre based in Norway developed the Global Tailings Portal, bringing together the thousands of disclosures on individual tailings facilities. The TSF disclosure request asked that CEO’s and Board Chairs from 726 extractive companies publicly disclose tailings data to this portal and on their websites. Over 86 per cent of the mining industry (by market capitalisation) responded to the disclosure request, including 45 of the top 50 mining companies. This process has brought a new level of transparency to the industry allowing communities, investors, regulators and the media unprecedented access to information about mine waste. The more recent Global Standard on Tailings Management was launched on the 5th August, 2020. The historic agreement includes six topic areas, 15 principles and 77 auditable requirements, which covers the entire TSF lifecycle – from site selection, design and construction, management and monitoring, through to closure and post-closure.
Leveraging technology to disclose tailings dataTopic Area VI of the standard requires operators to support public disclosure of information about tailings facilities, and participate in global initiatives to create standardised, independent, industry-wide and publicly accessible information about facilities. Due to manual processes, and often disparate and siloed atasets, some mining operators have estimated that it took them approximately six weeks per site to collate their tailings data. With many operators having well over 50 sites, this process is challenging and surfaced many inefficiencies. After hearing these frustrations from the industry, Decipher designed a tailings database solution to help companies easily capture, manage and disclose tailings data, enabling them to meet data provision requests from industry groups such as the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative. Decipher has also been working closely with GRID-Arendal to create an API to facilitate automatic update of tailings data within the Decipher platform directly to the Global Tailings Portal, which will significantly increase efficiency and provide a massive time savings for mining operators who choose to disclose regularly.
Armed with Decipher’s Tailings Database solution, customers can:
- Comply and meet requests for data provision from industry groups such as COE, ICMM, UNEP, PRI, Global Tailings Review and more, with fields embedded for simple reportingand tracking;
- Store an endless variety of tailings data in one location which is otherwise managed by a number of teams in disparate systems;
- Operate with increased confidence knowing required data is being collected and monitored;
- Easily visualise their operational TSF data on the map;
- Cluster data into key areas such as safety, risk, compliance, construction, design, roles and responsibilities;
- Assign actions and tasks for data collection with a register and audit trail of all actions and respective statuses to monitor progress, and reminder and escalation notifications;
- View dam data across multiple sites in a single screen with the ability to easily export for reporting;
- Facilitate automatic updates to databases and portals based on integration capabilities with third party systems or public portals;
- View spatial visualisation to display tailings dams in proximity to surrounding environment and communities;
- Better align with standard such as the Global Tailings management; and
- Access custom reports.
Effectively monitor your tailings storage facility with Decipher
Decipher’s Tailings solution is designed to provide you with key data and insights, enabling you to effectively monitor your TSF and your environmental obligations and compliance. Our solution can be securely accessed by industry, regulators, designers and operators involved in the management of TSFs. Decipher offers a comprehensive and functionally rich solution which combines regulatory (Compliance Management Software), mining waste management, stakeholder engagement, environmental monitoring, and environmental management system (EMS) tools to assist with tailings management:
- View real-time data and receive exceedance alerts
- Monitor land movement with remote sensing and InSAR datasets
- Visualise real-time LiDAR data with insights into dam movement
- Securely store and access all of your tailings data in the one place
- Upload and reference key documentation
- Visualise facilities across multiple sites in a single screen on a geospatial map
- Monitor your facilities with InSAR, LiDAR, DEM and more
- Capture a wide range of monitoring data and indicators su ch as surface and groundwater, decant pond water levels and quality, and embankment conditions
- Capture and track obligations and conditions around your licence to operate to manage your key risks and actions
- Action and task delegation for data collection with reminders
- Maintain and track environmental monitoring compliance limits and exceedances
- Manage and engage with all of your stakeholders with one central repository
- Convert your engagements into actionable outcomes
- Forecast, plan and track your sites activities using IBM’s Weather data
- Create corporate report templates and meet requests for data provision from industry groups such as ICMM, Global Tailings Portal, PRI and UNEP
- Integration capability with third party systems or public portals such as the Global Tailings Portal
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