May 17, 2020

Canadian Mining Association Launches Task Force for Tailings Management Program

Mining Association of Canada
2 min
On August 4th, the massive tailings dam at the Imperial Metals Mount Polley gold and copper mine burst.
The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has announced it will commission an independent, multi-stakeholder task force to review its tailings management p...

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has announced it will commission an independent, multi-stakeholder task force to review its tailings management program in Canada as a result of the Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings dam failure last year.  

The task force will be comprised of industry experts to review requirements and guidance documents under its Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative, a mandatory program for all MAC members, to ensure companies are as effective as they can be at preventing tailings dam failures, as well as optimizing the design, construction and ongoing management of tailings storage facilities.

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“The Towards Sustainable Mining initiative, along with the mining industry’s prioritization of tailings management, has contributed to a strong record of the safe operation, management, closure and aftercare of tailings facilities in recent decades. At the same time, we believe there is always room for improvement and we are committed to learning from the Mount Polley incident with the goal of ensuring we never have another one,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC.  

The TSM program is designed to improve the industry’s operational performance in key environmental and social areas, including tailings management and third-party verification of reported results.

The task force will be chaired by Doug Horswill, a former Chair of MAC’s Board of Directors and former Senior Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs at Teck Resources Limited. Other prominent representatives include:

“The Canadian mining industry is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the safety and protection of the environment and communities around our sites.  If anything can be changed within the TSM system to improve safety, we want to know about it,” said Gratton.

On August 4, 2015, the Mount Polley tailings dam collapsed, releasing millions of cubic meters of water and slurry with years worth of mining waste into the Quesnel Lake watershed. Despite being a part of the MAC audit program, Imperial Metals had not released grades on its tailing management. 

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Jun 18, 2021

Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant

Iron ore
Autonomous trains
2 min
Vale’s Timbopeba iron ore plant will be able to resume operations near the Xingu dam through the use of autonomous trains

Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.

Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant

With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.

Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.

Autonomous trains

Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.

But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.

The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.

Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension

Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.

Vale Timbopeba


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