Mind the waste

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

Dangerous: a breached tailings The European Parliamentary Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on July 13, 2005, passed a European Commission (ec) proposal for a directive to regulate the management and storage of mining waste. The proposal seeks rules to prevent water and soil pollution from storage of waste in tailings ponds, waste heaps and other dumps. The ec had presented it in June 2003. The eu adopted it with certain amendments regarding obligations about management of sites, especially after use. The amended proposal was tabled in the European parliament in 2004, when some member states objected to the 'after use' obligations. Mining waste comprises about 29 per cent of the eu 's total waste generated annually.

Mining projects will now have to provide a financial guarantee to reinforce the 'polluter's pay' principle and ensure that all obligations are met. The collapse of waste heaps and tailings dams can seriously impact human health and environment. Tailings dams have globally failed at an average of 1.7 per year in the past 30 years.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.