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Safety guidelines and good practices for tailings management facilities

Source(s):  United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

This document provides support to policymakers and the business sector in enhancing awareness and the sharing of experience and good practices among the competent authorities, operators and the public, and for the better harmonization of the regulations and requirements concerning the safety of Tailings Management Facilities (TMFs) in the ECE region.

Under the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Indsustrial Accidents, issues related to the prevention of accidental water pollution are addressed in close cooperation with the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.

Industrial accidents at TMFs may indeed lead to accidental water pollution. TMFs store large amounts of mining waste which are generated as a by-product when extracting minerals. As such, they can pose serious threats to humans and the environment, especially in case of their improper design, handling or management. Thus, a failure may result in uncontrolled spills of tailings, dangerous flow-slides or the release of hazardous substances, leading to major environmental catastrophes. The devastating effects on humans and the environment of such incidents as well as their far reaching and severe transboundary consequences have been demonstrated by major past accidents in the ECE region, such as the dam break of a tailings pond at a mining facility in Baia Mare, Romania, in 2000 and, more recently, the aluminium sludge spill in Kolontar, Hungary, in 2010 or the 2012 accident at the Talvivaara Mining Company in Finland.



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  • Safety guidelines and good practices for tailings management facilities
  • Publication date 2014
  • Number of pages 42 p.

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