Timeline illustrating major initiatives to improve mine waste management and reported tailings dam failures (data from Chambers 2015 and WISE 2017)
Numerous well-conceived initiatives have, over the past decades, made recommendations to improve mine waste management.. Examples include the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project (MMSD 2002 and Buxton 2012), the World Bank Extractive Industries Review (Salim 2003) and the 2001 ICOLD report. Franks et al. (2011) developed a set of sustainable development principles for the disposal of mining and mineral processing waste. Most recently, the ICMM produced a specific tailings-focused report (Golder and Associates 2016) and a position statement on preventing the catastrophic failure of tailings storage facilities (ICMM 2016). National industry bodies, such as the Mining Association of Canada, also produce guidance on tailings management, which their members are required to follow (MAC 2011). However, despite all these guiding principles and recommendations, major failures are still occurring and are predicted to continue (Bowker and Chambers 2015).
From collection: Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident