BHP finds no significant deficiencies in stability of tailings dams

Image: BHP Billiton

BHP has significantly increased the rigour of its management of tailings facilities following the Samarco dam failure in Brazil during 2015.

Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has revealed that dam safety reviews have been performed at “significant active, inactive and closed tailings facilities across BHP”.

The reviews found no significant deficiencies to their stability, he said.

Mackenzie, speaking in BMO Global Metals and Mining conference this week, said, “All our significant tailings facilities have emergency response plans in place.

“And, we have implemented regular monitoring and review processes as directed by the Canadian Dam Association guidelines – widely regarded as the most rigorous in the industry.”

More than 400 actions were assigned from the reviews, with 93 per cent complete and none of the actions in progress were overdue.

Mackenzie said he supported the outcomes and actions from the ICMM meeting, and increased transparency in tailings dam disclosure.

“The recent tragedy at Vale’s iron ore operation shows we as an industry must act with even greater urgency to make sure these incidents do not happen,” Mackenzie said.

“While we don’t yet know the cause of the dam failure, we will review all lessons as they emerge and apply them to further upgrade the construction and operation of our dams.”

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