ANCOLD 2021 Tailings Dam Operators Forum

The ANCOLD 2021 Tailings Dam Operators Forum was held in Gladstone Queensland in May 2021. It was a platform for tailings dam operators to share experiences (good and bad) rather than a technical/engineering focused conference.

With the enormous focus on Tailings Dam Design and Construction over recent years, the challenges facing the operators of tailings dams is often overlooked. The global tailings industry and stakeholders have acknowledged that a step-change is required to eliminate failures such as the events that occurred in Brazil, Mt Polley (Canada) and Cadia. It is noted that there have been 7 additional tailings dam failures since the Brumadinho failure in Brazil on 25 January 2019.

On 25 June 2020, the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management was endorsed by all stakeholders involved with the Global Tailings Review. This standard establishes robust requirements for the safer management of both existing and new tailings facilities globally. One session of the forum focuses on the operational aspects of the Global Standard.

Tailings management attracts extremely passionate people, and this forum invited like-minded attendees to participate in an open environment to benefit from others’ successes and learnings. This national forum brought together the ‘front line’ of tailings dams to openly discuss their experiences with the outcome of improving awareness of tailings management systems and operational safety.

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