TORONTO (Reuters) – A sweeping global standard that sets out how the world’s largest miners care for waste dams falls short of measures environmental and civil society groups say are needed to avert future disasters, according to a copy of the final draft seen by Reuters.
A panel of industry, investor and U.N. groups has been working for more than a year on the standard, triggered by the 2019 collapse of Vale SA’s (VALE3.SA) Brumadinho upstream tailings dam that killed more than 250 people. The standard is not binding but the panel expects that miners will adhere to it.
Tailings dams, some of which tower dozens of meters high and stretch for several kilometers, are the most common waste-disposal method for miners. Brazil has banned new upstream mining dams and ordered existing ones be deactivated by 2021.
The review did not cover technical design or look to exclude certain types such as upstream dams from future use. It is unclear how soon the new standard will be released and how quickly miners will adopt it.
Civil society groups had urged the panel to ban upstream dams while increasing accountability measures for corporate boards.
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