Yamana Gold adopts new tailings safety standards to prevent accidents

by birtanpublished on September 4, 2020

Yamana gold has recently launched a new standard in tailings management and here to talk to us about this initiative is senior vice president of health safety and sustainable development ross gallinger ross it's a pleasure to

Have you on the show welcome thank you very much for having me david it's a pleasure to be here so maybe explain to the viewers what tailings management means and why you launched this initiative

So certainly thanks very much um so first of all tailings is a byproduct of the operation of of mining basically what we take is ore crush it into size particles um extract precious metals in our case

Gold and silver um what remains is called tailings and that the actually placed out into a waste management area um that's highly engineered uh

Controlled and to protect the the environment and uh and communities so ross tell us about the history of this new standard you've had an old standard before uh why do model gold go through the

Process of developing a new standard well it's not specifically our standard it's a it's a standard that applies to the industry this global industry standard on tailings management was an initiative of the international council

Of mining and metals for us um you know we've been involved in a number of standard setting aspects in in canada specifically the mining association of canada and their guidance on tailings

Management has been around for a number of years and and really that has been valuable in terms of inputting into this uh new standard itself um as it you know as well as a number of

Initiatives as well internally for ourselves because we follow both the mining association of canada's work as well as as uh um our own best practices associated with tailings itself

And some of the things that are added to the standard is really a lot more on disclosure and which we've seen a lot of interest from investors in terms of what uh you know what is our tailings facilities uh

Uh how we're managing those and we put a lot of effort into and and recently in terms of disclosing that information and the new standard in one area really really uh

Discusses that but you know it also has issues around management and governance which we've done we've done a lot with regards to that our our our management uh compensation

Is based on performance around our tailings facilities as well if we have an incident uh their compensation is is uh directly affected about that as you know in 2019 there was an accident in brazil at

The brewmen dino site uh tailings accident that uh killed 250 people uh can this new standard um see improvements in infrastructures and can investors expect sort of more oversight from management

Following this new standard yeah absolutely uh it it sets a new set of uh overarching principles uh that everyone needs to follow so we're we basically have a core set for

Investors to look at where in the past we had uh uh both uh the legis legislative requirements in country that can be different all over um and a variety of sort of management

To practices now we have one global standard associated with uh tailings tailings management that includes everything from community engagement emergency response to

Disclosure so i think we'll really move the uh the the management disclosure we'll really be able to move a description on how we're managing those facilities and we have a uniform way of demonstrating that

Management system across through this new standard perfect can you tell us about how yamana has coped with the covet 19 pandemic and whether or not you've developed any new

Safety and health regulations around this incident yeah no we've done a lot of work around that since since march in the pandemic we initiated our crisis plan early on to look at

Um you know a number of aspects one in terms of protection of our employees and the safety of our employees which is paramount and two in terms of ensuring that we maintain the contribution to our our

Local communities as well so we've done a lot of work in terms of of uh hygiene social distancing uh affects uh screening uh method you know when i was shifting to

Uh to uh testing regimes as well um so far we've uh we've managed with a very low low uh amount of cases in our operations and move forward um you know but there's significant cost

In terms of those social distancing practices to to our operations that we're working through as well on the community side we've been uh first of all

Uh helping them prepare for the pandemic in the community in terms uh of um of their their capabilities in terms of providing equipment uh uh to uh helping vulnerable uh people in the community

And we pivot in terms of of using our emergency response expertise to help those local communities in terms of uh their their needs in terms of emergency response as well so

We continue that aspect in terms of supporting our communities through this part and i think uh all you know all our all the countries we operate in uh mining is an essential service

And uh uh continuing to to operate is helpful to those communities in terms of uh in terms of uh the the jobs and taxation um component of it uh for for those

Countries to your knowledge is this new global industry standard for tailings management something that all miners in the world will eventually have to comply with

Yeah i believe though because the the uh investment community is solidly behind this uh initiative as well and so anyone who who doesn't implement is going to be asked you know why aren't they doing that

We'll have to have a valid excuse to that as well i mean for for again for us a lot of what we already do what's in the standard we're already doing uh to the most part and

I mean this is an opportunity to improve the systems that we have based on on the content within here as well and in terms of cost investors might be wondering whether or not implementing this new standard might affect all the

Sustaining costs uh i don't believe so uh specifically we'll build that in as we go forward we we constantly and we'll have time to do that i mean the expectation is uh you know three to five years to

Implement fully implement the standard you know we'll we'll factor in the the the global industry standard on tailings management into this work and we'll take it up in in small chunks as we

We uh go through this but we'll be pr prioritizing the things that are most important for a lot of this we have the stuff the the things in place for us really it's it's how we document

It so that it's auditable at the end of the day so really it's a documentation exercise for us to confirm the things that we already have that we we believe we already have in

Place in our doing finally ross you're one of the first gold miners we've spoken to since gold has hit all-time highs and in fact as we speak today it's surging past two thousand dollars an ounce

How do you think these new price levels will affect um operations well for for us you know it's uh it's it's forging ahead with the plans that we have and see how we can improve

Those operations moving forward as i see it and and for us uh it's you know in in terms of my area it's uh really helping to reinforce the things that we need to do from a health safety environment

And community perspective as well so we can't lose sight of our commitments to uh to our employees as well as to the communities okay uh ross i want to thank you very

Much for uh coming on the show today and for your work on developing the new safety standard thank you very much thank you very much uh kikko news has more for you stay tuned i'm david lynn you

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