BHP and Rio Tinto have agreed to jointly fund a new initiative at the University of Western Australia that aims to improve global tailings management.
Over five years, the companies will invest A$4 million (($2.7 million) A$2 million each) in training, research, education and practice to support tailings and waste management facilities as part of the Future Tails program.
The initiative includes leading-edge training programs to build talent and capability; publications that summarise state-of-the-art tailings analysis, design, operation and management; and new research collaborations with industry to drive further innovation, according to UWA.
“Future Tails will provide education, training, and professional development to senior executives, senior technical personnel, junior engineers and operational staff in Australia and internationally,” the university explained.
Program Director, Professor Andy Fourie, from UWA’s School of Engineering, said there was a clear imperative to improve tailings management.
“Future Tails represents a step change in education, training and accreditation,” Professor Fourie said.
“Moreover, it will drive cutting-edge research and innovation that will feed into future training.”
Program participants will be awarded micro-credentials from UWA and there will be opportunities to follow a postgraduate pathway, which will include a Masters in Tailings Management.
The Global Tailings Standard being developed by the Global Tailings Review will underscore industry management of tailings and waste, UWA said. Just last week, the partners of the Global Tailings Review said it expected to publish the standard in the coming weeks.
Matt Currie, Vice President of BHP’s Tailings Taskforce, said there was an increasing demand for tailings expertise and for qualified people and methods to train these new professionals.
“The program will provide essential training and development to people at all levels of their career and help reinforce the different career paths within the tailings discipline,” Currie said.
Rio Tinto’s Head of Group Technical Mining, Santi Pal, said it was clear the industry needed to improve operational management and engineering practices.
“We need to enhance this capability right across the industry,” Pal said. “Future Tails will develop and retrain talent needed to safely and sustainably run mining operations of the future. Over time, it will help support improved global tailings management standards, knowledge-sharing and the transfer of best practice.”
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 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
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