Disclosure on Gold Fields’ tailings storage facilities
Johannesburg, 7 June 2019: Gold Fields Limited (JSE, NYSE: GFI) has today responded to a request from the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council on Ethics for information on mining companies’ tailings storage facilities (TSFs).
Gold Fields supports greater transparency in the mining sector on tailings management. The company’s tailings storage facilities’ (TSF) management disclosure document is available at www.goldfields.com.
Gold Fields currently manages 32 tailings facilities, of which 12 are active and one will be commissioned imminently. A further two are managed by Joint Venture operations. Gold Fields maintains measures to manage its TSFs’ safety, including compliance with the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) Tailings Governance Position Statement.
All Gold Fields’ TSFs, as well as associated pipeline and pumping infrastructure, are subject to an independent, external audit every three years – or more frequently where required by local circumstances or regulations – as well as regular internal inspections, monitoring and formal annual Engineer of Record reviews.
During 2017 and 2018, external and internal reviews of our alignment with the ICMM position statements on water and tailings management were carried out. The conclusion was that we are aligned with both position statements.
Gold Fields supports and is contributing to the current work of the ICMM, UN Environment and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment to develop an international standard on tailings management, led by an independent panel of experts. The standard will be based on best practices to ensure that tailings facility risks are managed appropriately, consistently and transparently.
Following the catastrophic failure of the tailings facility at the Corrego do Feijão iron ore mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, in January 2019, which left close to 300 people dead, Gold Fields' operations carried out additional safety inspections at our facilities.
To further improve operational safety of our TSFs, Gold Fields is, where practical, evaluating the potential to move away from the construction of upstream facilities to centre-line or downstream designs, considering filtered and dry stacked tailings, as well as in-pit tailings disposal.
Gold Fields will also continue to review and, where applicable and practical, adopt leading practices in the design, construction, operation and closure (including post-closure) of our tailings dams.
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