This report provides in-depth cases to exemplify the four trends highlighted in the international open letter “Global Solidarity with Communities, Indigenous Peoples and Workers at risk from Mining Pandemic Profiteers”. These trends pose an immediate threat to the health and safety of communities and organizations that have been struggling to defend public health and their environments against the destruction and devastation of mining extractivism for decades, as well as to the safety of workers in the mining sector.
The safest tailings facility is the one that is not built. To avoid the long-term liability of mine waste sites and their social and environmental impacts, we must reduce the volume of tailings produced, as well as the overall demand for primary raw minerals. Over the past 40 years, ore grades have declined on average by half for many minerals, effectively doubling the volume of mine waste tailings generated for each unit of mineral produced. Current trends suggest an additional 2- to 10-fold increase in the extraction and uses of most minerals by 2060. These trends are not sustainable. We need to continue to mine at least some minerals, including to support energy transition technologies, but we need best standards and practices to do so. See the full report, a summary table, tailings world map, an infographic on tailings storage methods, and a news release with supporting quotes and list of endorsers.