New global tailings standard highlights need for improved monitoring, governance and reporting solution

2019 witnessed the devastating failure of Brazil’s Brumadinho’s tailings dam which took 270 people’s lives. Just two days after the tragic event, a group of investors co-led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council of Ethics of the AP Funds announced the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative.

Now just 18-months on from the disaster, the International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM) and the United Nations Environment Program has launched a new global standard for the safe management of mine tailings.

The historic agreement covers the entire tailings storage facility (TSF) lifecycle – from site selection, design and construction, management and monitoring, through to closure and post-closure.

Now more than ever, the monitoring of these facilities and the reporting of dam safety is critical for corporate social responsibility.

Perth-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, Decipher, has designed a TSF monitoring cloud solution that is providing the tools for companies to improve compliance, reporting and operational visibility.

The solution has been built to adhere to industry best practice and compliance requirements such as the Global Standard, Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, ICMM and Global Tailings Portal, and can be securely accessed by industry, regulators, designers and operators involved in the management of TSF’s.

According to Decipher chief executive Anthony Walker, the resources industry is now looking for a solution that is secure, can be easily implemented, is cost effective and is globally accessible internally and externally.

“Our mission has been to develop a modern, easy to use platform to achieve this. We know mining companies collect massive amounts of monitoring data from a myriad of sources and are then required to collate this and provide constant reporting both internally and to regulators,” he said.

“We have built our platform with input from these parties so that data collection is simplified, automated as far as practically possible, presented visually on a map and supported by tools to take action and generate reports with the click of a button.

“The early adoption from Tier 1 miners and general interest has been phenomenal and it excites us that our platform can be used to support better management and monitoring for rehabilitation and closure and tailings storage facilities.”

To further meet the industry’s needs, Decipher also partnered with K2fly, a global provider of technical assurance solutions for the resources industry, to create an integrated TSF solution to help companies in monitoring and governance of tailings risks.

K2fly’s chief commercial officer Nic Pollock said the proposed solution would ensure the industry has access to a significantly better tool to aid monitoring and governance of TSFs to recognised standards.

“Our solution reflects best practice and will support compliance with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management recently endorsed by the ICMM and other Global Tailings Review convenors, as well as standards set by national regulatory bodies,” Pollock said.

Decipher and K2fly have commenced discussions with several global miners about the proposed tailings management solution, which can also be deployed remotely during COVID-19.

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