The SME Guide to Tailings Resources

Access tailings management case studies, research, technical papers, and industry best practices from around the world.

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Global Tailings Review

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment(PRI) share a commitment to the adoption of global best practices on tailings storage facilities. They have co-convened this global tailings review to establish an international standard. This review is being led by Dr Bruno Oberle.


About Tailings Page

Background page on tailings. From ICMM Page: Tailings is a common by-product of the metals and minerals recovery process. It usually takes the form of a liquid slurry made of fine metal or mineral particles and water – created when mined ore is crushed and finely ground in a milling process.


GMPA Global Action on Tailings

Overview of the GMPA's Global Action on Tailings, the umbrella tailings initiative for member societies of Global Mineral Professionals Alliance, which includes SME. Provides some overview of tailings issues, some initial links to content and information on tailings related events.


Mine Tailings: A Review of Guidelines, Initiatives and Standards

This 2019 study of approximately 30 guidance documents, project initiatives and standards from around the world was undertaken by GMG and Cambrian College. It offers an understanding of existing practices and initiatives covering mine tailings throughout the global mining industry.


Tailings Management: Good Practice Guide

This guidance is intended to support safe, responsible management of tailings across the global mining industry, with the ultimate goal of eliminating fatalities and catastrophic events. It provides guidance on good governance and engineering practices that will support continual improvement in the management of tailings facilities and help foster and strengthen a corporate safety culture, with focus in the six key areas outlined in the 2016 Tailings Governance Framework: 1) Accountability, Responsibility, and Competency; 2) Planning and Resourcing; 3) Risk Management; 4) Change Management; 5) Emergency Preparedness and Response; and 6) Review and Assurance


Conformance Protocols: Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management

The Conformance Protocols help operators and independent third parties assess implementation of the Standard’s requirements, and ultimately to demonstrate conformance. They map to the Standard’s 77 requirements using 219 clear and concise criteria. Effective assessment of conformance to the Standard through ICMM’s Conformance Protocols will help to demonstrate to all stakeholders that responsible practices are being applied across the tailings lifecycle.


Leading Practice Handbook: Tailings Management

This handbook addresses the theme of tailings management in the Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program. The aims of the program are to identify the key issues affecting sustainable development in the mining industry and to generate information and case studies that illustrate a more sustainable basis for mining operations.


A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities (the Tailings Guide)

Quote from main page: A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities (the Tailings Guide) is designed to be applied by MAC members and non-MAC members alike, anywhere in the world. The Tailings Guide, first released in 1998, provides guidance on responsible tailings management, helps companies develop and implement site-specific tailings management systems, and improves consistency of application of engineering and management principles to tailings management.

Publication Webpage

Tailings Management Protocol

The Towards Sustainable Mining Tailings Management Protocol, first released in 2004 and revised in 2011, is used to measure tailings management performance, with five performance indicators focused on: Having a corporate tailings management policy and commitment, Developing and implementing site-specific tailings management systems and emergency preparedness measures, Assigning accountability and responsibility for tailings management, Conducting annual tailings management reviews, Developing and implementing site-specific OMS manuals

Publication Webpage

Global Acid Rock Drainage Guide

The GARD guide is wiki-structured in a series of chapters that can be accessed through the main page. The guide deals with the prediction, prevention, and management of drainage produced from sulphide mineral oxidation, often termed “acid rock drainage” (ARD), “saline drainage” (SD), “acid mine drainage” or “acid and metalliferous drainage” (AMD), “mining influenced water” (MIW), and “neutral mine drainage” (NMD). The GARD Guide also addresses metal leaching caused by sulphide mineral oxidation. While focused on mining, the technology described will be helpful to those practitioners that encounter sulphide minerals in other activities (e.g., rock cuts, excavations, tunnels). Some of the approaches in the GARD Guide are also relevant to issues arising from reactive non-sulphide minerals. Tailings are one of the materials covered in the guide as they often have potential to produce acid and metalliferous drainage.

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