The 2023 Annual Tailings Operator Forum in Perth, Western Australia, on August 24th was nothing short of a success, with over 130 delegates meeting in Perth for the event. The delegates represented a diverse spectrum of tailings industry stakeholders, from operators and owner’s engineers to regulators, consultants, and service providers. This vibrant mix of attendees underscored a vital message – the tailings industry recognises that safe tailings operations is a collective mission, and this responsibility extends to all who are part of the tailings management journey.
The Forum’s program was focused on three relevant themes for tailings operations:
· Unique instances of tailings management.
· The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management and the resulting impact on operations.
· Managing changes and deviations in operations.
The presentations delivered on the day discussed the challenges, issues, opportunities and solutions associated with these themes, and were valuable in fostering discussions, questions and learning. Dr. David Cooling representing UNEP and Paul Owers from Alcoa Pinjarra also presented interesting and thought-provoking keynote presentations on the Global Tailings Management Institute and the challenges of implementing a filtration plant and filtered tailings operation, respectively.
The Forum also included discussion sessions where attendees shared their knowledge and thoughts on topics like Emergency Action and Response, and guidance available for tailings operations. The discussions and feedback were recorded and will be used by the ANCOLD Tailings Working Group to direct their work on updating tailings guidance.
As the Forum drew to a close, attendees gathered at the iconic Optus Stadium for the Forum dinner. With breathtaking views of the stadium grounds, delectable cuisine, and a side-splitting performance by comedian Peter Rowsthorn, the night was definitely one to remember.
The Forum was bookended by the well-attended Tailings Operator training and an insightful tour of Alcoa Pinjarra refinery’s residue filter plant, dry stacking operations, and residue slurry storages. It was a backstage pass to the inner workings of cutting-edge tailings management.
The energy and enthusiasm during the Forum were palpable. With the addition of a Welcome Reception and Exhibitors Hall, the energy and enthusiasm of the tailings industry and the ANCOLD community to meet, learn and discuss all things related to safe tailings management was clear and is indicative that this annual event will keep growing. tailings management.