Investors Demand Miners Set Out Risks to Waste Storage Safety

(Bloomberg) -- Investors controlling more than $10 trillion in assets have asked the world’s top mining companies to disclose how they manage their waste storage facilities as part of the response to Vale SA’s fatal dam disaster.

A letter, signed by 96 investment groups led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council of Ethics, demanded chief executive officers or chairs sign off on the disclosures within 45 days, certifying that they are accurate. The request comes after the Brumadinho dam failure in Brazil in January that killed hundreds of people.

Investors Demand Miners Set Out Risks to Waste Storage Safety

“This disclosure is urgent and essential for investors to be able to understand how your company manages tailings facilities and any associated risks,” investors said in the letter. Tailings are leftovers generated when marketable material is extracted from the ground and are often stored behind dams.

An investor roundtable on mining and tailings safety was held in London last month and included presentations from leading experts that left investors “deeply concerned,” according to the letter, which was sent to 683 companies.

More on the dam disaster
  • Vale Dam Fallout Deepens With Mine Closure and Blocked Funds
  • Argentina Moves to Regulate Mining Waste as Global Concern Rises
  • Brazil Mine Disaster Prompts Bolsonaro Rethink on Environment

“We strongly recommend that your disclosure is accompanied by plans to communicate directly with communities that may be affected by your tailings footprint,” investors said in the letter. “We acknowledge and are fully aware that good practice in tailings management exists, but it is of critical importance that this can be transparently verified for all mining companies.”

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