We continually work to manage our mine tailings and waste safely and sustainably. To inform our evolving plans and efforts in these areas, we are committed to reviewing and applying global best practices.
What are tailings?
Tailings are the materials left over following the processing of mined ore that separates the valuable metals or minerals from the host rock. Tailings are not the same as waste rock, the latter being soil or rock or other material that covers or surrounds an orebody and that is displaced during mining but is not processed.
What is a tailings storage facility?
Tailings storage facilities (TSF) play a major role in many mining operations around the world. A TSF is a highly engineered structure that consists of one or more tailings dams, with embankments designed to permanently store the tailings in a safe, sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. Every individual dam is unique and is designed, built and operated to specifications that are tailored to the physical nature of the tailings material itself, and a number of other factors. Our tailings facilities are managed taking into account a combination of site-specific conditions, applicable laws and regulations, and annual dam safety inspections and reviews, as required.
We continually improve the management of our facilities by developing and incorporating best practices as well as digital technologies. For example, we’re using new surveillance technologies to assist in monitoring and ensuring the physical stability of tailings deposits.
Great Panther supports industry activities to tackle waste management challenges. In 2020, the International Council on Mining and Metals, along with the United Nations Environment Program and the Principles for Responsible Investment, launched the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). We welcome this important milestone for the mining sector and future success in tailings management, which aims to strengthen current industry practices by integrating social, environmental and technical considerations.
Great Panther will conduct a gap analysis in 2021 of its operating and non-operating sites against these standards to determine general and comparable alignment across mine sites and identify potential gaps.
Please refer to the following summary for more details regarding Great Panther’s tailings storage facilities in Mexico, Peru and Brazil.