The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) realized a significant milestone with the release of the world’s first Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (The Standard) in early August. CIRDI is thrilled to welcome and endorse the Standard, which offers a globally accepted framework for continuing our work to achieve strong social, environmental and technical outcomes at every stage of the tailings management lifecycle.
Prioritizing zero harm to people and the environment, the Standard reflects CIRDI’s organizational values and project work in its aim to strengthen current practices in mine waste management by integrating social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations, as well as best practice, into a cohesive standard for operation.
By providing a series of auditable requirements that prioritize human and environmental safety, meaningful engagement, good governance and public accountability, the Standard sets the stage for governments, mining companies and investors to collaborate in addressing the systemic and technical challenges associated with mine waste and tailings management.
Through CIRDI’s project efforts in support of responsible tailings management, we can speak to the veracity and comprehensiveness of the Standard. The experiences from our work in Ecuador, Mongolia and other countries, for example, generated a course on tailings management which compliments the actions outlined in the Standard and can support its implementation.
The Standard’s effectiveness will, of course, depend on appropriate implementation. Through CIRDI’s work providing technical assistance and supporting public sector reform, we recognize the gap that can exist between vision and execution, and we believe that commitment to and support for implementation from non-industry organizations will be one of the keys to the Standard’s success. We look forward to working with our partners towards the operationalization of the Standard and the achievement of the UN Environment Assembly Resolution on Mineral Resource Governance.
Praise for CIRDI’s tailings management training course:
“The inefficient practices of ASM produce mine and metallurgical wastes, often with valuable mineral content, and accompanied by toxic chemicals such as mercury and cyanide. CIRDI has experience in capacity development and community engagement to support governments and other stakeholders in tailings management, governance and policymaking to reduce environmental and human health risks.”
-Patricio Colón Velásquez, professor, project lead at CIRDI and Ecuador’s leading academic expert on artisanal and small-scale mining