SUSTAINABILITY Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management GISTM

Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM)

As a member of the ICMM, Gold Fields helped formulate the Standard, fully endorses it and will now commence with its implementation through its ICMM membership commitment.

The Standard establishes the first global standard on tailings management that can be applied to existing and future tailings storage facilities (TSFs). Strengthening current practices in the mining industry by integrating social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations, the Standard covers the entire tailings facility lifecycle – from project conception, planning and design, through operation and ongoing construction, to closure and post-closure.

Status on the implementation of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management

Gold Fields is committed to implementing the 77 requirements set by the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) developed by the PRI, ICMM, and UNEP. The ICMM has allowed for a three-year implementation period (August 2023) for Extreme and Very high consequence facilities and an additional two years for other facilities (August 2025). In addition, all tailings storage facilities (TSFs) that are not in a state of safe closure will be in conformance with the GISTM by August 2025.

Gold Fields completed site-specific gap analyses across its global operations to gauge overall compliance with the GISTM requirements and develop a compliance roadmap in Q1 2021. Scopes of work are being developed to address gaps identified in collaboration with the Engineers of Record (EoRs). Self-assessments will commence in Q3 2021 to gauge progress against the compliance roadmap.

Tailings management policy

Gold Fields developed a tailings management policy, approved by the Board in November 2020. The policy includes an explicit commitment to implementing the GISTM and achieving the goal of zero harm to people and the environment.

Tailings management guideline

Gold Fields is in the process of converting its Tailings Management Guideline to a Tailings Management Standard. The aim is for the new Standard to take effect in Q4 2021. The Standard will reference the 77 requirements defined in the GISTM.


Executives have been appointed in each of our four regions to fulfil the role of Accountable Executive as required by the GISTM. Gold Fields will appoint Responsible Tailings Facility Engineers (RTFEs) at an operations level throughout 2021. The role descriptions, responsibilities, and minimum qualifications of the RTFE roles are being finalised.

Third-party review

The GISTM requires independent technical review boards (ITRBs) to be in place for TSFs with consequence classifications of ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very High’ and senior independent technical review for all other TSFs. Gold Fields has an established ITRB at its Cerro Corona mine. The terms of reference for the ITRB at Cerro Corona are being updated in line with the GISTM.

An additional ITRB is in the process of being implemented at Tarkwa.

Risk assessments

Risk assessments are required for all TSFs per the GISTM. Gold Fields is in the process of developing a TSF Risk Assessment Guideline to align with the GISTM requirements. The risk assessments for all active TSFs will be updated, refined, and completed in 2021.

Conformance Protocols for the GISTM and Tailings Management Good Practice Guide

Gold Fields is committed to implementing the GISTM across our facilities and welcomes the Conformance Protocols for the Standard as a vital tool to help demonstrate our conformance.

Experts from across our company collaborated to develop ICMM’s Tailings Management Good Practice Guide which provides comprehensive guidance on good governance and engineering practices. The Guide will support continual improvement in tailings management across the industry.