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GISTM Deadline Looms for ICMM Members with Risky Tailings Storage Facilities

Tailings storage facilities classified by ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences need to be in conformance with the Standard by mid-2023.

The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) is a framework which sets a precedent for the safe management of tailings facilities, towards the goal of zero harm.

Developed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and drawing on the global expertise of a diverse team and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, the Standard was instituted in the wake of a 2019 tailings storage facility collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil which tragically led to the deaths of 270 people.

Comprising six topic areas, 15 principles and 77 auditable requirements, the Standard is ambitious, and sets a high bar for tailings safety measures. It has been integrated into the existing membership commitments of ICMM members, who need to ensure its full implementation throughout the approximately 1200 tailings dams operated by ICMM members globally.

Upon its release, deadlines were set regarding conformance to the Standard – deadlines which are now fast approaching.

ICMM members with tailings facilities classified as ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences need to be in conformance with the Standard by 5 August 2023, with all other sites (ie. not classified by ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences) needing to demonstrate conformance by 5 August 2025, a mere two years later.

SRK Consulting principal environmental consultant Jacky Burke, details a four-step process in Mining Review that provides a framework in which mines can structure and evaluate their progress towards conformance.

Step 1 according to Jacky, is concerned with knowledge sharing, training, and awareness of a mine’s environmental, social and tailings management teams, whilst the 2nd step lays the groundwork for the mines to comply with the GISTM requirements via reviews and internal audits.

Step 3 entails the upgrade of data management systems to facilitate integrated assessment and reporting, with the final step dealing with ongoing collaboration and development.

Aimed at further assisting and simplifying the job roles of its prospective and current customers, IsoMetrix has incorporated these GISTM conformance protocols within its environment, health, and safety (EHS) software.

The Audit Checklists software module now contains preloaded content which has been mapped to match each of the six topic areas encompassing the 15 main principles and 77 individual requirements related to the protocols.

By making use of this feature, tailings managers are assisted in evaluating their progress towards meeting the GISTM.

In addition to the preloaded questionnaires, dashboards visually display the checklist data, enabling software users to gauge the status of the various questionnaires and determine progress achieved at-a-glance. Findings for each requirement can be noted within the module and associated actions can be logged.

The feature also facilitates authorized workflows where individual levels of sign-off can be set, ensuring that the correct person signs off on the entire audit, or on the findings and actions pertaining to each specific requirement.

Furthermore, the Audit Checklist Schedule features a calendar view, greatly aiding tailings managers in viewing upcoming dates and deadlines regarding the implementation of action plans and associated actions.

For more information on how to implement systems to better manage your tailings storage facilities and conform with the GISTM, contact one of our industry experts.