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Establishing international standards for toxic mining waste storage

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  • Establishing international standards for toxic mining waste storage

About the entity

Environment
The leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system.
Schneider Electric
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Themes

In response to the recent tragedy in the Brazilian town of Brumadinho – where a tailings dam holding the byproducts of a nearby iron ore mine collapsed, sending a flood of metal-heavy mud downstream – the International Council on Mining & Metals, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment will launch an independent review to establish an international standard for tailings storage facilities.

Tailings dam failures have far-reaching environmental consequences, with the released toxic sludge seeping into the soil and nearby rivers. The Brumadinho disaster, which cost the lives of 206 people, has highlighted the need for a swift implementation of strong international standards for the containment of toxic mining waste.

The review initiative will be informed by evidence and lessons learned from earlier dam failures. The aim is to complete the review by the end of the year and to subsequently work on advocating for the broad acceptance and adoption of the international storage standards across the mining sector.

The standards convened by the review would become member commitments of the International Council on Mining & Metals, compelling its international members to adhere to the recommendations outlined in the document.

Implementing the highest standards of academic revision and review, the next step in the process will be the appointment of an independent chair and a multi-stakeholder advisory panel.

About the International Council on Mining & Metals

The International Council on Mining & Metals is an international organisation dedicated to a safe, fair and sustainable mining and metals industry which brings together 27 mining and metals companies and 36 regional and commodities associations. Every ICMM member company adheres to 10  Principles and 8 Position Statements on issues relating to sustainable development.

About the United Nations Environment Programme

The United Nations Environment Programme is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. It’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the Principles for Responsible Investment

The Principles for Responsible Investment is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. It works to understand the investment implications of Environmental, social and governance factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The Principles for Responsible Investment acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate, and ultimately, of the environment and society as a whole.