SUSTAINABILITY 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.
Gold Fields is committed to implementing the 77 requirements of 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 two additional 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.
Implementing the GISTM is a journey, and it is an important step toward raising the bar with respect to tailings management. Even if full conformance cannot be demonstrated by the established conformance deadlines by Gold Fields or our peers, we believe it is important to recognise the industry's journey to implement the GISTM and the enhancements being made - now and into the future.
Gold Fields's Corporate Tailings Management Team within Corporate Technical Services (CTS) has been working with the Regions, Sustainable Development, Legal and Corporate Affairs toward implementing the GISTM. The progress of our conformance will be updated on goldfields.com. Work that was completed in 2022 or that is ongoing in 2023 is highlighted below:
Gold Fields developed and implemented a new Tailings Management Standard that addresses the many technical and governance aspects of tailings management.
Our Tailings Management Governance Framework, finalised in March 2023, aligns with the GISTM and details the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for tailings management. Executives have been appointed in each of our four regions to fulfil the role of Accountable Executive as required by the GISTM. In addition, Gold Fields has appointed Responsible Tailings Facility Engineers (RTFEs) at all of its operations.
A series of informational sessions were held throughout 2022 that included overviews for senior management, targeted sessions for specific focus areas (e.g. human resources, legal) and detailed mandatory sessions for employees that have a key role in tailings management at our active operations and legacy sites on the requirements of the GISTM.
The GISTM requires ITRBs to be in-place for TSFs with consequence classifications of ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very High’, and senior independent technical review for all other TSFs. From 2006, Gold Fields previously established an ITRB for Cerro Corona. In 2022, an additional ITRB was implemented for Tarkwa. The ITRBs meet on a minimum annual basis.
Risk assessments are required for all TSFs per the GISTM. Gold Fields is developing a TSF Risk Assessment Guideline to align with the GISTM requirements. The risk assessments for the priority TSFs will be updated, refined, and completed by Q1 2023.
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.