Leveraging Knowledge and Experience of a Well-Formed Independent Tailings Review Board to Enhance Tailings Facility Safety

Leveraging Knowledge and Experience of a Well-Formed Independent Tailings Review Board to Enhance Tailings Facility Safety

Authors: Theo Gerritsen (Rio Tinto, Australia), Tamara Johndrow (Freeport-McMoran, USA), Paul W. Ridlen (Knight Piésold, USA), Christina Winckler (AngloAmerican, USA), Lisa Yenne (AECOM, USA)
Conference:  91st ICOLD Annual Meeting
Date: June 11-15, 2023


Independent tailings review boards (ITRBs) have been used for tailings storage facilities (TSFs) by the authors for over 30 years under a variety of naming conventions. ITRBs have been recommended in several national and international guidelines, such as in the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Tailings Management Good Practice Guide and are now a requirement in the voluntary Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) published by ICMM, Principles for Responsible Investment, and United Nations Environment Program.

This paper draws on the experiences and lessons learned and discusses key features of successfully implementing ITRBs to support resilient designs and operational excellence. The paper focuses on the interaction between the Operator’s team, the Engineer of Record (EoR), and the ITRB. It also discusses the need for a range of experiences, expertise, traits, and skills in forming effective ITRBs are described and the expectations of all involved parties to achieve an effective team with a shared purpose. Guidance on organizing, supporting, evaluating, and managing expectations of the ITRB are included. The need for strategic planning and formalizing the Independent Review process of this part of a Tailings Management System is emphasized.


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