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Methodology for Tailings Management Facilities (TMFs)

Methodology for Tailings Management Facilities (TMFs)


In order to support competent authorities and operators in the practical implementation of the UNECE Safety Guidelines and Good Practices for Tailings Management Facilities (TMFs), the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) created in 2016 a methodology for improving TMF safety which was updated and further developed in 2020, in cooperation with the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) within the project Capacity development to improve safety conditions of TMFs in the Danube River Basin. The TMF methodology helps competent authorities and TMF operators strengthen TMF safety and management. It is comprised of three main components: (A) Tailings Hazards Index (THI) and Tailings Risk Index (TRI); (B) Checklist methodology; and (C) Measure Catalogue. These components are summarized below and explained in more detail in this training video (ENG and RUS) and the Online Toolkit and Training for Strengthening Mine Tailings Safety (ENG and RUS). The spreadsheets and documents for completion of the Methodology are available below for download and use by competent authorities and TMF operators in their regional and national contexts. Applying the Methodology will assist countries in strengthening mine tailings safety and putting into practice the UNECE Safety Guidelines and Good Practices for TMFs.

(A) Tailings Hazard Index (THI) and Tailings Risk Index (TRI)

The TMF methodology provides tools for competent authorities to assess the hazards and risks of large numbers of TMFs (e.g. across an entire country). The UBA and ICPDR designed a spreadsheet  that competent authorities can use as a template to apply the THI and TRI according to TMFs within their country or region.

(B) Checklist methodology

Once the THI and TRI components are complete, the Checklist helps competent authorities, inspectors and TMF operators with examining technical safety requirements at the facility-level and technical measures within the guidelines and other international standards. The Checklist methodology can be completed through a spreadsheet. Instructions on using this spreadsheet are provided in the first tab.

(C) Measure Catalogue and taking actions

The Checklist methodology’s Safety Evaluation Tool (see component B above) provides evaluations and results on compliance of TMF safety requirements and regulations. For cases of partial or non-compliance, countries can look to the Measure Catalogue for a list of actions that can be taken to strengthen safety. The Measure Catalogue is included in the Checklist spreadsheet (see last tab)

The previous TMF methodology from 2016 is available here.