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Time for mining to deliver on zero casualty policy - UNISDR

Mining News - Published on Tue, 19 Feb 2019

Image Source: unisdr
The decision by Vale, the world’s largest manufacturer of iron ore, to decommission ten of its tailings dams in Brazil is welcome, but it will seem too little, and too late, for those who have lost loved ones and seen their environments destroyed by the failures of such structures. Tailings dam failures over the last five years have made the headlines in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, the USA and Israel. Not all have resulted in loss of life, but the damage to the environment has been extensive and raises enormous questions and safety concerns over what conditions are like at the world’s 30,000 industrial mines.

In 2001, the International Commission on Large Dams issued its report “Tailings Dams: Risk of Dangerous Occurrences”, which examined 221 failures. It found all of them could have been avoided.

The technical knowledge exists to build and maintain safe facilities. As a recent UN Environment Programme assessment put it: “an inadequate commitment to safe storage combined with poor management was the cause of most failures.” It remains to be seen if the investigation now underway by Vale and the Brazilian authorities discovers any other factors in the failure in critical infrastructure at the Córrego de Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil which has likely claimed hundreds of lives.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 19 Feb 2019
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