BHP commits to zero-harm tailings management approach

BHP has supported demands for more transparency with tailings storage facilities to ensure they are more safely and sustainably managed.

In 2019, BHP contributed to the global tailing review, which was led by a panel of experts appointed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Principles for Responsible Investment and United Nations Environment Program.

This resulted in the global industry standard on tailings management, a universal  framework for safer tailings management with a goal to achieve zero harm.

BHP stated it is “proactively ensuring” it meets all requirements in the standard.

According to BHP chief executive officer Mike Henry, the standard will raise the bar for tailings storage facilities management.

“As an industry, we must constantly challenge the standards we set for safety, to protect our people, the environment and the communities in which we operate. The management of tailings is no exception,” he said.

“BHP is committed to meet or exceed the requirements of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management by the dates outlined by ICMM.

“With a critical mass of participants within the ICMM, we are able to better define minimum requirements in a common language across the industry, and generate the urgency and action required to make a sustained difference.

“This global standard will help raise the bar for tailings storage facilities management across the industry, and allow us to share learnings with our peers for the safety of people and the environment.”

BHP flagged its tailings management will use a top-down approach that starts with a “corporate level self-assessment” in line with the global standard.

The miner also flagged in a tailings presentation that it is committed to cooperating with other miners on improving tailings management.

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