The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management
The GISTM consists of 6 topic areas, 15 principles and 77 requirements that are focused on reducing the risk of a tailings disaster.
There are only 10 months left for all tailings facilities rated as ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ Consequence of Failure to be in conformance with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) by August 2023. Do your tailings facilities fall into one of these categories? What will it take to be in conformance with the GISTM?
Each month until August 2023, Insight Terra will be reviewing the principles and requirements that make up the GISTM, and how you can be sure your facilities are ready in time.
Overview of Principle 1
Principle 1 of the GISTM relates to the broader topic of affected communities which importantly leads off the GISTM:
“Respect the rights of project-affected people and meaningfully engage them at all phases of the tailings facility lifecycle, including closure.”
The focus of Principle 1 is on communities that may be affected by a tailings facility. The key takeaway for real action is that community engagement must be maintained through all phases of a tailings facility lifecycle. This is the first reference to the lifecycle of a tailings facility, but it will definitely not be the last.
Requirements of Principle 1
There are four requirements under Principle 1, which discuss the need not only to respect the rights of the communities that may be affected by a tailings facility, but also actively to engage with them during the facility lifecycle, share information with the wider public, and establish a way to address issues of the local community in relation to the tailings facility.
Requirement 1.1 lays the foundation for respecting human rights through the tailings facility lifecycle in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). This alignment of the GISTM with other international organizations such as the United Nations is important to support the rigor and credibility of the principles.
Requirement 1.2 specifically calls out the need “to obtain and maintain Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)” of indigenous or tribal peoples who might be affected by a tailings facility.
Requirement 1.3 references building a knowledge base as a key element of community engagement related to information sharing. The concept of the knowledge base is further detailed in other GISTM principles. Ensuring that information in the knowledge base is accurate and grounded in truth is critical. The Insight Platform provides a critical and accessible resource of ground truth monitoring data which contributes in a meaningful way to this knowledge base.
And finally, when addressing “complaints and grievances of project-affected people relating to the tailings facility” from Requirement 1.4, transparency will be important. In the same vein, the comprehensive nature of the Insight Platform data visualization, and its powerful data analysis functionality together provide complete transparency for both operators and executives.
Addressing the requirements of the GISTM in a comprehensive and thorough manner demands meaningful preparation and planning and it is therefore important to start as early as possible to make sure your tailings facilities are in conformance with the GISTM.
Principle 1 and Insight Terra
Principle 1 focuses on making sure the rights of local communities and people around a tailings facility are taken into consideration during all phases of the tailings facility: design, construction, operation, and closure. Insight Terra was established specifically to help enterprises gain real insight into their environmental and infrastructure risks, and to make informed decisions about managing those risks. In short, Insight Terra was formed to help protect the environment from people, and people from the environment.