Ivanhoe Mines is committed to tailings management that meets or exceeds global best practices for safety during all phases of the mine lifecycle. As Ivanhoe’s mine development projects are currently in the pre-production phase, the company has no active tailing storage facilities. The company’s first producing mine — the Kamoa-Kakula joint-venture copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo — is scheduled to begin production in Q3 2021.
In 2019, Ivanhoe commissioned engineering audits of its planned tailings storage facilities to further safeguard employees and neighbouring communities. The recommendations from this review were subsequently implemented in the design of the three new tailings facilities Ivanhoe and its joint-venture partners are planning to develop at the Kamoa-Kakula, Platreef, and Kipushi projects. A high-level management plan for the historical tailings facility at Kipushi is also underway — pending Gécamines’ (Ivanhoe’s joint-venture partner at Kipushi) approval.
What are Tailings?
Mining of economic mineral deposits typically produces by-product materials during operations that are composed of finely-ground rock, fine mineral particles and water separated from ore minerals during the milling process. Tailings storage facilities are designed to allow for the safe storage and management of this by-product material through mine operation and closure.
Wherever possible, Ivanhoe plans to minimize the surface storage of tailings from its mining operations by storing them underground in the mine-out workings. For example, approximately 55% of the Kamoa-Kakula’s tailings will be mixed with cement and pumped back underground to fill voids and help support the underground mine.
Investor-led Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative
The Investor Mining & Tailings Safety Initiative is an investor-led engagement convening institutional investors active in extractive industries including major asset owners and asset managers. Inputs into the investor process have been sought from communities impacted by recent disasters, leading international experts, government representatives, leading international technical advisors as well as company representatives.
The Initiative is governed through a Steering Committee Chaired by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council of Ethics of the AP Funds.
Please click through the following link for more information on the Initiative: https://www.churchofengland.org/investor-mining-tailings-safety-initiative
In April 2019, the Initiative wrote to 683 extractive companies requesting additional disclosure regarding their tailings facilities, in a common reporting format, and that this material is published corporate websites together with a certification by the CEO and/or Chairman.
Ivanhoe is supportive of the Initiative and has attached its response below.
Certified Disclosure on Tailings Storage Facility Management