The “El Tablón” community tailings facility (CTFET) in Ecuador was designed to mitigate the environmental impacts of the tailings produced in the Zaruma-Portovelo mining district. Unfortunately, the lack of effective communication, economic resources, information, knowledge, and experience in tailings management prevented the successful implementation of an adequate, safe, and environmentally responsible tailings management system. In 2019, at the request of the Vice-Ministry of Mining of Ecuador, CIRDI developed the “Governance and Technical Rapid Response Intervention for the Community Tailing Facility El Tablón” to briefly analyze the existing governance and operational status of “El Tablón” and to help catalyze positive changes.
During November 2018-March 2019, CIRDI organized and facilitated a series of inter-ministerial meetings that resulted in the creation of an ad hoc inter-ministerial committee comprised of representatives of the national government. The function of the committee was to collect, share, and analyze existing information about the status of CTFET to identify the needs, requirements, and actions for the responsible management of the community tailings pond. CIRDI met with key government authorities, representatives of processing plants, and engineers managing El Tablón. During the process, official representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Vice-Ministry of Mining reviewed the information available on the CTFET. Based on these meetings and the analysis of existing reports, we discussed four options for the governance of El Tablón and two technical options for tailings deposition.
This report summarizes the discussions and analyses on the options that are available to the Government of Ecuador for the technical operation and governance of El Tablón.