Interdisciplinary Research Reveals Global Trend of Tailings Dam Failures That Will Result In $6 billion in Unfunded Unfundable Public Liability 2010-2019

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgEUkp2OXFaV1FlVm94dDZYYmJtQmExYWJ1eWhZ/view?usp=sharing

Contact:
David Chambers, President Center for Science In Public Participation , Bozeman Montana  (406-585-9854)
Lindsay Newland Bowker, Director Bowker Associates Science & Research In The Public Interest  Stonington, Maine

207 367 5145

Catastrophic mine waste spills increasing in frequency, severity and cost world-wide

On 1st anniversary of North America’s worst mine waste disaster, in-depth analysis shows Mount Polley tailings dam failure is part of a global trend attributable to industry and regulatory failure to implement best practices

July 29th — On the 1st anniversary of North America’s worst mining waste spill at the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia, a new interdisciplinary analysis reveals  that such catastrophic spills are increasing in frequency, severity and cost. The Risk, Public Liability, and Economics of Tailings Storage Facility Failures shows that modern metal mining techniques have driven the creation of increasingly more risky mine waste facilities, enabled by  regulators that have failed to require best practices to minimize financial and environmental risk.  These failures are almost all the result of the failure of regulatory agencies to require, and the industry’s failure to follow, known best practices.

Co-authored by Lindsay Newland Bowker, Director, Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, and David Chambers, Ph.D., a mining technical specialist, the report’s primary findings include:

  • The rate of serious tailings dam failures is increasing. Half (33 of 67) of serious tailings dam failures in the last 70 years  occurred in the 20 years between 1990 and 2009
    • The increasing rate of tailings dam failures is propelled by, not in spite of, modern mining practices. The increasing rate of tailings dam failures is directly related to the the increasing number of TSFs larger than 5 million cubic meter capacity necessitated to allow the economic extraction of lower grades of ore.
    • 11 catastrophic failures are predicted globally from 2010 to 2019. . Predicted total cost of these 11 failures is $6 billion , virtually all unfunded and unfundable..
  • The average cost of the these  catastrophic dam failures is $543 million as determined by actual court records and other official documents on government efforts to recoup clean up and recovery costs from miners who walked away without paying for the damages they caused. .
  • Mining companies cannot afford, and cannot secure insurance to cover, the costs of catastrophic failures that are not “acts of God”: Losses, both economic and ecological, are in large part either permanent and non-recoverable, or recovery — to the extent physically possible —  funded by public monies.

“More mining waste disasters like Mount Polley are inevitable,” said David Chambers, report co-author and director of the Center of Science in Public Participation. He continued, “If mining practices continue as usual, we are going to see more severe spills, more frequently, that will cost the public hundreds of millions to billions of dollars to clean up.”

“Our research shows that  most of the 29 known catastrophic failures of tailings dams in recorded history  are the result of poorly informed  consciously made business and management decisions by miners who then refuse, or are financially unable , to accept the public loss and consequence of those decisions.” said report co-author Lindsay Newland Bowker. “  Of course, regulatory systems which allow this to happen also contribute by not recognizing deviation from accepted practice and the unfolding of financial risk as it evolves  and escalates environmental risk to a level of public disaster.”

“As a result of the Mount Polley investigation, mining companies and regulators know they have to change mine waste disposal practices to minimize the risk of future disasters,” said Chambers. He continued, “Unfortunately, as evidenced by the recent approvals for mines in the Alaska/British Columbia transboundary area, they are failing to do so.”

Mining tailings are the waste left over after metal ore has been processed. They are disposed of by dumping behind huge earthen tailings dams. On August 4, 2015, the Mount Polley Mine failed, releasing an estimated 25 million cubic meters of waste into the Fraser River watershed.

Link to full report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw0jCpuVRzgEUkp2OXFaV1FlVm94dDZYYmJtQmExYWJ1eWhZ/view?usp=sharing

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About lindsaynewlandbowker

Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit providing self initiated pro bono analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact . Bowker Associates has been an internationally recognized and cited voice in analysis of the Samarco failure, its consequence, and the possibilties for recovery. In 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with globally respected geophysicist David M. Chambers to recompile global authoritative accounts of significant TSF failures in recorded history and to analyze these data in the context of gloal mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) In 2014 Bowker Associates commissioned globally respected geophysicist and hydrogeologist Dr. David Chambers to undertake two technical works: (1) development of technical go no go criteria for vetting mine applications tp://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/a-new-statutory-regulatory-framework-for-responble-sulfide-mining-should-this-mine-be-built/ and (2) a case study of Maine's Bald Mountain, an un mined low grade high risk VMS deposit demonstrating the efficacy and accuracy of two risk assessment tools in vetting mine proposals https://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mountain-x-would-you-issue-a-permit-to-this-mine/ In Maine, Bowker Associates has deeply engaged and been a public voice in the Searsport DCP LPG Tank, The Cianbro proposal for a Private East West Toll Road, JD Irvings rolling pipeline of Bakken crude to its plant in St. John and review of Phase II plans at The Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, and Maine's revisitation of mining in statute and regulation... Our only “client”: is always “the pubic interest”. Our model is to focus on only one or two issues at a time so that we have a substantive command of the relevant field as our foundation for ongoing engagement. Our core work is in envirommental risk management, science and technology as well as bringing any available “best practices” models to the fore. The legal and regulatory history/best models are also a major thrust of our work in building and evaluating public policy. Director/Principal Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM is a recognized expert in Environmental Risk Management., Heavy Construction Risk Management and Marine and Transit Risks and has more than 3 decades of engagement in buiding public policy. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Banking Board (served 1986-1996); President New York Chapter Chartered Property and Casualty Insurers; Environmental Committee, Risk and Insurance Management Society; Director, Convenor/Co-Chair Bermuda Market Briefing "From Captive to Cats" Hamilton Bermuda. Published Articles of Significance The Risk Economics and Public Liability of Tailings Facility Failures, co-authored with David M. Chambers, July 2015 Beyond. Polarization: Superfund Reform in Perspective, Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control (Jan. 24, 1997). Lead Hazards and Abatement Technologies in Construction: A Risk Management Approach CPCU Journal 1997 Employee Leasing: Liability in Limbo Risk Management June 1 1997 Environmental Audit Privilege and the Public interest Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control, April 1997 Asbestos:Holes In Abatement Policies Need To Be Plugged, Lloyd’s Environmental Risk International, May 1993 Editor Published Letters Evironmental Risk Management Beware of Facile Policies Like Fetal Protection Business Insurance 1995(?) High Court Review May Increase Sale of Bank Annuities Business Insurances August 8, 1995 Professional Profiles Protecting the Big Apple’s Core Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Control December 1996 Major Career Highlights First rigorous analysis showing Relationship Between declining ore grades and TSF Failures of increasing consequence ( July 2015) FIrst Documentation that Gentrification Has Same Impacts as Unassisted Displacement from Urban Renewal Sites Direted Court Ordered EIS of FHA Mortgage Scandal Created Nation's First Homeownership Program for Low Income People (SHIP) Created Earliest Geographic Information Systems Using Defense Technology Developed By IBM Designed and Conducted Parallel Census Count to Show Systematic undercount in minority neighborhoods Documented Bias in ISO Territory Rating Plans for Private Passenger Auto Insurance Using ISO's own Rating Techniques Demonstrated Inherent Bias in Mortgage Policies of Banks With Inner City Branches Demonstrated that NY Telephones Plan for Area Code Split To accommodate anticipated cell phone demand was not efficient and would exhaust in 5 years ( which it did) Undertook First Systematic Evaluation of Child Protective Services Caseload Using Multi Variate Analyic Techniques Developed Child Protective Caseload Management and Tracking System (CANTS) and directed implementation in 4 client states including Illinois, Florida and New York Created and Ran Office of Risk Management for NYC DEP the Nations largest Water & Sewer Authority . Designed, Created and Administered Nation's First Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP)for High Risk Tunneling Education Masters NYU Graduate School of Public Administration BSC New School For Social Research Maine Public Schools Deering High School
This entry was posted in Andre Mc G. Robertson, Catatrophic Tailings Dam Failures, CU Average Grade 1910 2010, CU Average Ore Production 1910 2010, CUCosts of Production 1910 2010, David M. Chambers, Lindsay Newland Bowker, Mining Economics, Tailings Risk Management, World Bank and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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