Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident

Capturing and generating value from mine tailings

Waste treatment




Provides additional income- generation stream Reduces loss of valuable material Reduces mine footprint Limits potential for future recovery Generates savings on site remediation

Extracting more from tailings Using tailings in new products

Recovery of additional minerals


The use of mine waste for site remediation

Finding on-site alternatives to long-term storage


Source: Golev 2016

Figure 21. Capturing and generating value from mine tailings (adapted from Golev 2016)

taken up by industry because poor economics, resistance to change and budget priorities have prevented their evaluation and application in the real world. To this day, the recycling and reuse of tailings and waste rock is largely driven by their practical applications and financial returns. However, there is a clear business case for the reuse and recycling of mine tailings and waste rock to achieve zero-waste mining.

New solutions to waste production and disposal are required if we are to reduce waste and achieve the zero-failure objective. Stakeholders need to work collaboratively to ensure that potential and innovative solutions are applied at the mine design phase. Finally, the regulator should use its tax and legal options to make it more profitable for companies to use mine tailings and waste rock for other purposes.


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