Best Practices for Tailings and Water Management
CIM Montreal 2015
Rick S. Siwik (Siwik Consulting Inc.), Christopher Dwayne Anderson (Teck Resources Ltd.)
Mining related tailings and water management facilities occupy a significant footprint in the natural environment. Effective management and technical standards are required to reduce impacts and risks associated with the life cycle of these facilities, starting at the exploration phase. This paper sets out a framework for the minimum management processes and technical requirements that mining companies should address in the planning, design, construction, operation and closure of tailings and water management facilities.
Mining companies need to incorporate tailings and water management aspects into their corporate governance policies, project evaluation and approval processes, and site management systems. Minimum technical standards need to be set for the design basis, evaluation of alternatives, physical and environmental design and from conceptual to feasibility design for closure. An integrated risk assessment and management process is recommended for guiding management decisions, and communicating with stakeholders not otherwise familiar with technical aspects of tailings management.
An effective management system and execution plan is required from project delivery to closure to achieve and retain the necessary environmental and regulatory licenses and social acceptance. This paper provides an overview of industry best practices for a management and technical framework for tailings and water retaining structures.