MAC updates tailings management guidance

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has updated its guidelines on responsible tailings management to better align these with international standards released last year.
MAC updates tailings management guidance MAC updates tailings management guidance MAC updates tailings management guidance MAC updates tailings management guidance MAC updates tailings management guidance

A potash mine and tailings pond in central Saskatchewan Canada

MAC said the update follows a detailed comparison of its Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) standard, first launched in 2004, with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management launched last August.

"The publication of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (the Standard) last year provided a good opportunity to review TSM's requirements, with a view to incorporating aspects of it that would further enhance the safe management of tailings facilities around the world," said MAC's president & chief executive, Pierre Gratton.

The association's president said that while there was "broad alignment in most critical aspects," that it had identified "some opportunities to further strengthen our guidance and TSM requirements".

"We also found that, in many respects, TSM is more detailed and rigorous than the Standard and is a surer guarantee of the safe management of tailings facilities," he added, however.

MAC is now expanding the TSM Tailings Management Protocol application to closed and inactive sites to further align with the Standard.

"With these changes, TSM will meet or exceed most of the requirements in the Standard and will continue to … provide more detailed and rigorous performance measurement expectations. … [and] take a more comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing human and community rights and benefits, " said MAC.  

"We welcome the Mining Association of Canada's intent to incorporate the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management into the TSM framework," said Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Church of England Pensions Board. "We hope and expect the mining industry as a whole to adopt the Standard, and support improvements that will lead to the safer management of waste." 

For a in-depth look at the MAC guidelines, see here.