MANAGEMENT OF TAILINGS STORAGE FACILITIES
Ramelius Resources Limited (Ramelius) builds, owns and operates a number of tailings storage facilities (TSFs) across its mining operations. The design, construction, operation and closure of these facilities are strictly controlled by government regulation, codes of practice and relevant guidelines, as well as Ramelius’ internal standards, procurement policies and contractor management processes. The chosen location, design, construction method, operational strategy, monitoring and surveillance, emergency response planning, and rehabilitation of each TSF has undergone a rigorous risk assessment and management process, assessing likelihood and consequence of the final decision.
Our operating TSFs in Western Australia must comply with the approval requirements of the project management plan under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994 (WA) and Mines Safety and Inspections Regulations 1995 (WA), the mining proposal under the Mining Act 1978 (WA) and Mining Regulations 1981 (WA), and the review report under tenement conditions. The Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA), administered by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), also requires owners of a TSF to have a granted Works Approval in place for the construction of a TSF and a subsequent Environmental Licence prescribing compliance conditions for its operation; both of which are in place for each TSF under the management of Ramelius.
Specialist TSF engineers are engaged by Ramelius to address the factors that can potentially impact on the long term performance of each TSF and related risks. The design process is complex, but repeatable and rigorous and ensures the integrity and safety of each TSF during:
• normal operation
• abnormal operation (e.g., decant pump failure, pipe breakouts)
• extreme events (e.g., seismic loading, extreme weather)
Ramelius also completes detailed and regular inspections and auditing of our operating TSFs, including the preparation and implementation of a site-specific TSF Operating Manual which sets out the safe and environmentally acceptable operating procedures, monitoring and reporting requirements, trigger levels and actions to be taken to rectify any impending deficiencies. Audit reports are lodged to the relevant regulators (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety as well as DWER) demonstrating compliance with all conditions. Regulations also require Ramelius to use independent TSF consultant engineers for the design and annual inspection of all our TSFs as well as requirements for the provision of information, instruction, training and supervision that assures the integrity of the TSFs and occupational safety and health of affected personnel.
Beyond compliance, Ramelius aligns with the principals of continuous improvement to tailings management by considering and incorporating relevant learnings from TSF incidents that have occurred across the world along with any other relevant new information, technology, or practice that will deliver a superior and reliable management practice with a high degree of confidence that all TSFs can be safe, stable, erosion-resistant and non-polluting not only during operations, but also ensures the long-term performance and minimal environmental impact continues long after the tenements are relinquished.
The current locations of Ramelius’ mining operations are in remote regions of Western Australia away from populated centres and sensitive environmental receptors. This does not remove our obligations to continually comply with strict environmental and engineering requirements and TSF regulations. If and when any new TSF is required in the future, or the environmental and social risks change due to new deposits being discovered near sensitive receptors, Ramelius will continue to engage and communicate directly with those potentially affected communities and the regulators as part of any approvals process being undertaken.