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New Global Standards For Mine Waste Won’t Prevent Dam Failures: Critics

“The international standards, which come in response to tailings disasters like Mount Polley, are facing criticism for failing to include enforcement mechanisms or penalties for companies that fall short of requirements”

“New global industry standards for dealing with mine waste are not enforceable, fail to set measurable standards and will not protect communities, workers or the environment from disasters such as the 2014 Mount Polley spill or the deadly 2019 Brumadinho dam failure in Brazil, says an international group of scientists, community organizations and non-profits.

The global industry standard of tailings management — overseen by the United Nations Environment Program, the International Council on Mining and Metals and the Principles for Responsible Investment — aims to improve management of mine waste “with an ambition of zero harm to people and the environment,” according to Bruno Oberle, chair of the Global Tailings Review.

Oberle said in a news release he wants an “independent body” to oversee the standard and is calling on governments, mining companies and investors to work together to make tailings dams safer, but did not specify the makeup of such a body.”

Judith Lavoie reports for the Narwhal August 5, 2020.


“Miners Need More Engineers To Meet New Tailings Dam Safety Standard” (Reuters)

“Six Years After Mount Polley Disaster, Expert Recommendations Not Fully Implemented: Report” (The Narwhal)