ICMM, UNEP, PRI say Jagersfontein tragedy shows urgency of responsible tailings management

15th September 2022 By: Marleny Arnoldi - Deputy Editor Online

The co-convenors of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) have expressed their disappointment about the tailings dam failure that occurred in Jagersfontein, in the Free State, South Africa, on September 11, saying the tragedy underscores the critical importance of responsible tailings management.

The tailings dam collapse at the Jagersfontein diamond mine, left one person dead, many injured, hundreds of people homeless and infrastructure damaged.

The convenors of the GISTM, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), have implored all stakeholders, including companies, investors and government, to urgently work to enhance the safety of tailings storage facilities across the world.

The GISTM was launched in 2020 in the hopes of achieving zero harm to people and the environment.

This followed a devastating tailings dam failure in Brazil in 2019.

“Anything less than every tailings facility on Earth being responsibly managed is just not good enough. While some companies have committed to implementing the standard or equivalent standards, many other operators are yet to commit to doing so.

"We urge every mining company everywhere to immediately embrace the standard as a top priority,” the organisations state.