Tailings dams are the most common waste disposal methods for mining companies, whether they’re extracting iron ore, gold or copper.
However, a third of the world’s tailings dams are at high risk of causing catastrophic damage to nearby communities if they crumble, according to data compiled by Reuters.
A year ago, more than 240 people died in Brazil when a Vale-owned tailings dam collapsed, leading to a slew of social, political and economic aftershocks that are still felt today.
With environmental issues becoming a more heated topic than ever before, investors are now demanding mining companies become more responsible and transparent — with emphasis placed on meeting environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.
The Church of England, which invests in mining companies through its pensions for retired clergy, along with its partners are now requesting companies to disclose data on tailings dams on a regular basis.
The latest Reuters data reflects disclosures from 89 companies with mines in over 60 countries.
More data and graphics are here.
(With files from Reuters)