Responsible Tailings Management

Tailings are produced in processing mined ore. During processing and beneficiation, the ore is finely ground and mixed with water and chemicals to separate minerals from waste. The waste remaining after beneficiation is a mix of finely ground waste rock and water known as tailings or slurry, which is disposed in tailings storage facilities (TSFs).

Assmang has five TSFs: three at Black Rock Mine, and one each at Beeshoek and Khumani mines. All three operations are well advanced in implementing the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) and on track to comply with required deadlines.

The design and construction of TSFs include appropriate physical barriers to prevent polluting groundwater. Surface-water runoff around waste-rock dumps and TSFs is monitored to alert operations to negative impacts. Groundwater modelling predicts the potential impact of tailings disposal on aquifers and allows for mitigation measures. The latest structural stability reports confirm the TSFs at our operations “are operated in a safe and responsible manner, all facilities are structurally sound and comply to all the relevant legal requirements”.

Our main priority is ensuring the stability of our TSFs. The responsible and safe management of tailings is a strategic issue, with major financial and reputational value. As such, it is a company and board priority. Reporting on tailings is included in the agendas of quarterly executive and social and ethics committee meetings and, ultimately, to our board of directors.

Assmang is committed to tailings management and standards that align with national and global good practices to preserve health, safety and the environment in all phases of the mining life cycle. To achieve this consistently, we implement strict internal standards and practices in line with local regulations and internationally recognised good practice.

Our commitment is supported by the Assmang tailings management policy, and the corporate standard on safe and responsible tailings management.