The prevention of a tailings dam disasters is an ambitious, but challenging goal. A goal made more difficult by the cyclical, competitive and international nature of the mining industry. Although ICOLD (2001) provided recommendations for change, which have, in many jurisdictions, improved tailings management, the industry has not yet achieved a zero-failure rate.
The approach to tailings storage-facility design, construction and management must place safety as the number one priority. Failure to implement change, coupled with the reality of declining ore grades and consequent increasing waste volumes, will inevitably lead to more catastrophic failures with more deaths, human suffering and environmental destruction.
From collection: Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident