JULY 2022

The facts about Tailings Storage

What is a Tailings Storage Facility?

A Tailings Storage Facility is a purposely designed, engineered and managed structure that permanently stores mine tailings.

The design, construction and operation of these facilities are rigorously regulated and involve multiple approvals, strict operating standards and extensive performance monitoring.

What are mine tailings?

A crucial part of the mining process involves crushing and grinding the mined ore/rock into fine particles. These particles are then mixed with water and other agents to allow valuable minerals, such as gold, to be successfully extracted. Once the minerals have been extracted, the waste product created is what is known as “mine tailings”.

What happens to mine tailings?

At FGM, a proportion of mine tailings are mixed with a binding agent and used to backfill underground voids.

Excess mine tailings are transported to a Tailings Storage Facility (TSF), which is purposely designed, in accordance with strict regulatory standards and guidelines, to safely accommodate the tailings. Each TSF is designed by a third-party dam engineer and takes into account local conditions such as: climate, topography, geological setting and seismicity.

Once deposited into the TSF, the mine tailings settle and consolidate, with excess water separated and returned to the processing plant for reuse.

What happens to the TSF’s after mine closure?

FGM has a site Closure and Rehabilitation Plan, approved by regulators, which includes considerations for rehabilitation of the TSF’s. Upon closure, the TSFs will all be dewatered, capped and revegetated to achieve a stable and self-sustaining landform.

Our commitment to engagement

FGM appreciates the level of concern some community members have raised in relation to FGMs operations, which is why we are committed to meaningful and open engagement and the provision of evidence-based information. On occasion information from conversations undertaken during our engagement efforts can be misrepresented, resulting in misleading information being relayed by others within the community.

If you come across information which does not align with your current understanding, or you have questions you’d like answered regarding our operational activities and/or future plans, we encourage you to reach out directly to the FGM Community Team. We will do our best to answer your questions and we’ll provide you with accurate information to assist your knowledge and understanding.

To read more about Tailings Storage read our factsheet