Australia’s minerals industry is demonstrating global leadership and best practice in governance, information sharing and technical expertise in tailings storage management with the release of the Australian Mining Tailings Communiqué.

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MCA takes a tough stance on tailings management

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) will support the communiqué, developed by MCA member companies following a workshop earlier this year, with a program of training, research and governance actions currently in development.

Opportunities will be identified to build industry expertise and enhance technical capacity on tailings management for the minerals workforce.

Tragic incidents around the world over the past decade reinforce the need for ongoing vigilance, review and change and raise legitimate questions about tailings management practices from governments, investors and the community.

Australia’s minerals industry met earlier this year to review governance, culture and risk management for tailings storage facility management.

While current tailings management practices in Australia are highly regulated and at the forefront of global best practice, the industry is committed to continual improvement as part of its culture of safe and responsible resource development.

“Australian companies are committed to playing a role in the global response to develop international guidelines and standards for tailings management by the International Council on Mining and Metals,” said Tania Constable, Chief Executive Officer MCA.

“This contribution should ensure that the global minerals industry rises to the challenge of having the best possible systems, culture and technology, while remaining vigilant and ready to respond quickly and effectively.

“Tailings management in Australia is advanced and highly regulated. Yet we must guard against complacency and engage in continuous improvement, including honest and transparent communication and engagement.”

Because collaboration is essential, Australian minerals companies are working together to assess tailings management systems and approaches to highlight leading practice and identify areas for sharing and further improvement.

The Australian minerals industry will work together to drive the following actions:

Communicate and engage – Communicate and engage with the community including government and other key stakeholders on our approach to tailings management in a transparent manner to build community confidence

Leadership, governance and systems – Assess and identify key elements of corporate leadership, culture, systems and governance to proactively manage tailings risks and share information

Share leading practice – Continue to actively share and promote industry leading practice and lessons learned in Australia and overseas from all industries

Build industry expertise – Identify opportunities to enhance industry capacity in key technical aspects of tailings management

Engage internationally – Offer Australian expertise to help build global initiatives on tailings management including the development of, and alignment to, standards and guidelines.

The MCA will develop a program of work to reflect the above actions by the end of 2019.

“There is no room for complacency and honest and transparent communication and engagement with the workforce, host communities, governments, investors and other stakeholders is central to the industry’s approach,” concluded Ms Constable.

*Article published in the October-December 2019 issue of The Asia Miner

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