World-First Database Aims to Prevent Deadly Mine Dam Disasters


Information on more than 1700 mine dams now available online.

On anniversary of Brumadinho disaster in Brazil, investors and pensions with more than $US13 trillion under management back database. Professor Elaine Baker has been a driving force in making this a reality. Environmental organisation GRID-Arendal with support from the UN Environment Program has launched the world’s first publicly accessible global database of mine tailings storage facilities.

The database, the Global Tailings Portal, was built by Norway-based GRID-Arendal as part of the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, which is led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics, with support from the UNEP. The initiative is backed by funds with more than $US13 trillion under management.

Professor Elaine Baker from the School of Geosciences is director of the GRID-Arendal office at the University of Sydney and has been a driving force in the foundation of the database, which was launched at Westminster Abbey, London, on Friday.

“This portal could save lives,” said Professor Baker, who is senior expert at GRID-Arendal globally. “Tailing dams are getting bigger and bigger. Mining companies have found most of the highest-grade ores and are now mining lower-grade ones, which create more waste. With this information, the entire industry can work towards reducing dam failures in the future.”

Continue reading at University of Sydney

Image via University of Sydney