Minerals Council shocked by Jagersfontein tragedy

The Minerals Council of South Africa says it is saddened by the tragedy unfolding at Jagersfontein in the Free State after the collapse of a historic deposition dam and it recommits its members to the highest standards of tailings and waste rock dump management.

“The causes of the collapse of the dam at the Jagersfontein diamond mine, which was shut in
the 1970s, are unknown at this stage. The loss of life and injuries sustained in the deluge from
the collapsed dam as well as the damage to homes and infrastructure is a tragedy. The Minerals Council offers its heartfelt condolences to all those affected by these events,” says the Council’s spokesperson, Allan Seccombe.
The Minerals Council and its members also have offered assistance to government at this
tragic time.
The Minerals Council notes that the Jagersfontein assets are not currently owned by any of
its members and that it has no information about the ownership structure or the standard of
management of the dumps is available at this stage.
The Minerals Council has engaged and contributed extensively to the review and update of
the South Africa’s South African National Standards (SANS) 10286 Code on Mine Residue
Deposit Management in an effort to achieve alignment with International Council on Mining
and Metals’ Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.
The Minerals Council continues to encourage its members to review their tailings management
operational standards and ensure they are aligned with the ICMM’s (ICMM) Global Standard
on Tailings Management. The Minerals Council is a member of the ICMM, and it is an active
member of the steering committee on tailings management.

In addition to the adoption of best practices that have been made in respect of management
practices for tailings storage facilities, the Minerals Council believes that adherence to the
ICMM standard will augment existing national standards and legislative requirements and
practices to create a step change for the mining industry to address safety risks and the
environmental sustainability of these facilities, and to further improve on the management and
governance of tailings dams.
The Minerals Council believes that the ongoing compliance with the national regulatory
requirements coupled with the implementation of the revised SANS10286 standard and
continuous adoption of the ICMM standard will strengthen current management practices
significantly by integrating social, environmental, and technical practices, covering the entire
life cycle from site selection, design, construction, management, and monitoring to closure
and post closure.
The Minerals Council has requested its members assess their tailings management practices
in accordance with the standard to determine if these were aligned and to identify any possible
gaps that needed to be addressed.
The Minerals Council has reached out to the South African authorities to offer whatever
practical support and assistance that the industry can provide regarding the Jagersfontein
tragedy at this trying time.


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