On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Brumadinho Tailings dam disaster that resulted in the deaths of 270 people, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Church of England Pensions Board (representing the Principles for Responsible Investment PRI that co-convened the process with UNEP) announced the formation of an independent Global Tailings Management Institute (GTMI) aimed at driving mining industry safety standards.

The announcement made at an investor summit on mining hosted by the London Stock Exchange and convened by the Church of England Pensions Board in collaboration with UNEP, sets out the results of the work of a multi-stakeholder International Advisory Panel and extensive discussions with stakeholders in the mining sector.  The Institute will be central to the independent auditing required of companies to ensure that they are in conformance with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). 

The core function of the Institute is to oversee the implementation of, and conformance with, the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). To achieve this, the Institute’s core priority will be:

  • Assurance: Managing an assurance framework where tailings facilities will be audited and certified against the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management by qualified, independent third-party assessors.

This will be supported by:

  • Awareness: Promoting awareness, understanding and adoption of the GISTM by (all) mining companies (public, private and government owned), building on the efforts of the Global Tailings Review.

  • Knowledge Sharing: Facilitating the sharing of knowledge of implementing the Standard to improve overall knowledge in tailings management.

  • Disclosures: Supporting confidence in the Standard and its implementation through transparency of tailings facility details and auditing outcomes.

A multi-stakeholder nine person Board will govern the Institute with support from a Technical Committee. An independent Chair and Deputy Chair will be sought through an open call for applications, one of which will be from industry. The Institute will operate with a fee based model related to the number of tailings facilities a company has responsibility for and registered with the Institute. 

Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer for the Church of England Pensions Board representing PRI in the process said:
“This Institute is a vital piece of the global architecture necessary to drive the independent auditing of mining companies’ compliance with the previously agreed Global Industry Standard.  This Institute is critical to investor and the wider finance sector’s confidence in the mining industry’s management of a major risk that is faced by the communities and environment where individual mines are operating around the world.  

Ultimately, this Institute will have a critical role in driving safety of tailings dam management and effective implementation of the Global Industry Standard.  As shareholders in mining companies, we will now work with other investors in the sector to ensure companies are registering all their facilities with the Institute as soon as it becomes operational,” he added.

Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director of UNEP’s Economy Division, said:
“This Institute is the result of extensive engagement with stakeholders in the mining sector. Today represents an important milestone that will see an Institute with a multi-stakeholder Board oversee the assurance that mining companies are meeting the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.  

We are under no-illusion as to the challenge that many companies will face in meeting the Standard and this Institute will be an important independent source of knowledge as well as providing the needed rigor and transparency to the auditing process,” she added. “We are enormously grateful to all those stakeholders with a commitment to improving the operations of the mining sector who have contributed to arriving at this milestone.”

John Howchin, Global Ambassador for the Global Tailings Management Institute said:
“The Institute will support companies to implement the Global Industry Standard.  We all know that mining will be expanding to meet the demands of the low carbon transition.  It can only do so with the highest standards.  Increased mining is likely to lead to increased tailings waste.  This Institute will be vital to ensure companies can be supported to implement best practice and demonstrate to their host communities and governments that they are doing so credibly.”

Following the announcement of the Institute, UNEP and PRI, as the co-conveners of the multi-stakeholder International Advisory Panel that made the detailed recommendations for formation of the Independent Global Tailings Management Institute (GTMI), issued a public call for people meeting the necessary criteria to nominate themselves for the Chair, Deputy Chair and Board Members.  A separate call was also made inviting any institutions that wished to work with UNEP and PRI in the foundation of the Institute to contact UNEP and PRI.  

Source URL: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/press-releases/new-independent-global-tailings-management-institute-announced-drive