TAILINGS MANAGEMENT AND STEWARDSHIP SUMMARY
We recognize that the failure of tailings and other impoundments at any of our mining operations could cause severe, and in some cases catastrophic, property and environmental damage and loss of life. Many of our tailings impoundments are located in areas where a failure has the potential to impact individual dwellings and a limited number of impoundments are in areas where a failure has the potential to impact nearby communities or mining infrastructure. As a result, our programs take into account the significant consequences resulting from a potential failure, and we apply substantial financial resources and technical resources, both internal and external, to materially reduce the likelihood of failures.
Affiliates of our company currently operate 18 tailings storage facilities (TSFs), 16 in the U.S. and two in Peru; and manage 58 in the U.S. that are inactive or reclaimed. Our inventory of TSFs comprises 13 active and 52 inactive or reclaimed facilities with an upstream design, five active and five inactive with a centerline design, and one reclaimed facility with a downstream design.
Our Tailings Management and Stewardship Program was launched in 2004 and has evolved significantly over the last 15 years. Today, through the program, we employ substantial engineering expertise, technological monitoring, as well as local and corporate management oversight to ensure that these facilities are designed, built, operated and monitored to minimize risk to employees, neighboring communities and the environment. These safeguards generally fall within four categories: (1) engineering and design, (2) rigorous adherence to construction and operational parameters through monitoring, (3) multi-tiered oversight and (4) adherence to practices grounded in continuous improvement and learning from past experiences, including industry failures.
We also implement the core elements of ICMM’s Position Statement on Preventing Catastrophic Failure of Tailings Storage Facilities published in December 2016: accountability, responsibility and competency; planning and resourcing; risk management; change management; emergency preparedness and response; and review and assurance.
While we believe our tailings management and stewardship program is robust and mitigates risks, we continue to identify opportunities for continuous improvement in all aspects of our program. Our corporate culture is to communicate critical information upwards so that important matters are identified, evaluated, and acted upon. We have a strong commitment from our Board and executive management team to provide the necessary resources to protect safety.
For more information on this topic please refer to the Tailings Management and Stewardship summary document and site-specific tailings information.