Professor Bruno Oberle has agreed to chair an independent review of tailings storage facilities (TSFs), according to the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), the Principles for Responsible Investment and the United Nations Environment Program, who are co-conveners of the review. The review will establish an international standard for the safe management of TSFs that can be applied to all tailings dams.

Oberle will oversee every aspect of the review and prepare a report, which is expected to be published by the end of the year. Oberle is chair for Green Economy and Resource Governance and academic director of the International Risk Governance Center at L’Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, a panel member of the International Resource Panel and a member of the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He was previously the Swiss secretary of state for the environment and director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

Set up in response to the Brumadinho tragedy in Brazil, the review will be informed by evidence and lessons from this disaster as well as earlier mine tailings dam failures.

“We have a responsibility to the people of Brumadinho to get this right,” Oberle said. “My objective is clear: I will oversee a comprehensive review of the current situation and draw up a new international standard for TSFs that draws on the best practice from around the globe.”

In addition to the appointment of a chair from outside the mining sector, there will be appointment of a multistakeholder advisory panel consisting of non-governmental organizations, international bodies and responsible investors. The chair will also be able to draw on the experience of an expert panel of tailings and dam specialists drawn from academia and industry.