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Insurance for tailings dams and impoundments

Insurance for tailings dams and impoundments


  • Until recently, insurance capacity was generally available for mining operations with tailings storage facilities
  • However, following the devastating Brumadinho failure which triggered a regulatory and industry-wide safety review of tailings dams, the insurance landscape has changed very rapidly
  • Download this FREE guide to find out about the available solutions to help implement the Global Standard on Tailings Management


According to Willis Towers Watson, until recently insurance capacity was generally available for mining operations and underwriting requirements were modest in nature in that insureds had to disclose relatively little information on their facilities, operational or decommissioned, to their insurers in order to obtain coverage. Mining companies had been able to transfer part of their tailings exposure into the insurance market, be it through their General Liability, Property or Environmental Liability Insurance programs as there was no specific ‘tailings storage facility insurance’. However, following the devastating tailings dam failure in Brumadinho, Brazil in January 2019 which caused a tidal wave of 11.7 million cubic meters of mining waste, killing 270 people, mining companies are now finding it increasingly difficult to obtain insurance.

Find out about the 57 major tailings dam failures (2000 – 2020)


How has the Brumadinho tailings disaster impacted other mining operators?

In the recent AusIMM Global Tailings Standard webinar, Professor David Williams explained that some regions including Brazil, China, Russia, and parts of Africa have been refused insurance cover for tailings dams, while other regions have had their insurance cover significantly reduced by about one third and their premium has increased about twice. “The effective cost of insurance is now about three times what it was previously for a lesser amount. Some companies are now choosing to self-insure as they’re finding it impossible to get insurance.”
“A typical coverage might have been in the order of $300 million for a tailings dam failure but that has been reduced by about a third…If you had a failure on the scale of Brumadinho now that would be a drop in the bucket, ” said Professor Williams.

Obtaining coverage and reducing premiums with technology

In this video, Decipher’s CEO Anthony Walker talks about the devastating impact of recent tailings dams and tailings facility disasters on securing insurance cover. He discusses how technology that promotes safety and reduced risk approaches can help secure cover and potentially reduce insurance premiums. YotuWP warning: API Key was removed, please contact to your admin about this issues. After hearing the industry’s challenges following the Brumadinho tailings disaster, the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative disclosure request and the launch of the Global Tailings Standard (GTS), Decipher and K2Fly have focused their respectively core technology on designing an integrated TSF cloud solution to help companies improve compliance, monitoring, reporting and disclosure of tailings data. Drawing on years of experience in mineral resource governance and reporting, Decipher and K2Fly’s solution is helping miners improve investor sentiment and compliance, reporting, operational visibility, and work towards zero-harm.  Armed with the new solution, customers will be able to visually demonstrate their commitment to good governance and implementing standards, ability to maintain both old and new dams, and as a result, provide them with the tools needed to potentially negotiate their insurance premiums down. The solution draws on Decipher’s powerful monitoring capabilities which has been built with Google Earth Engine at its core, and brings a variety of tailings data such as IoT devices, LiDAR, radar, CCTV, drones, inspections and remote sensing into one central location, offering customers an earth observation and visual approach to their TSF monitoring. In addition this, Decipher has advanced tools such as InSAR Displacement which integrates with industry leading providers so that users can more effectively monitor, measure and detect deformation of land surfaces over time and be automatically alerted to customer defined exceedances, driving greater safety precautions and reducing risk.

Want to see more? Experience an interactive demo of our Tailings Monitoring & Governance solution today



Has insurance changed for tailings storage facilities?

Until recently, most mining companies had been able to transfer part of their tailings exposure into the insurance market, be it through their General Liability, Property or Environmental Liability Insurance programs as there was no specific 'tailings storage facility insurance'. However, following the devastating tailings dam failure in Brumadinho, Brazil, some operators are finding it difficult to obtain insurance, or have experienced increased premiums and reduced coverage.

How to obtain insurance for our TSF?

Mining operators are looking to technology that promotes safety and reduced risk approaches to help secure cover on their tailings dams, and potentially reduce insurance premiums.

Effectively monitor your tailings storage facility with K2fly

Tailings Storage Facilities - TSF - Mining - Decipher - DecipherGreen - Tailings management - tailings dam monitoring - tailings storage facility software - environmental obligations software

K2fly’s Dams & 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. K2fly 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 such 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
Want to find out more about Dams & Tailings?
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