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Lessons learned from the Mount Polley disaster – Environment – Business in Vancouver

August 10, 2020

When a tailings pond dam at the Mount Polley copper-gold mine collapsed in 2014, it was one of the worst mining disasters in recent memory in Canada.

But it was only one of four such dam failures around the world that year, including one in Brazil that killed two workers. In 2019, there were six tailings pond failures, including one in Brazil that killed more than 250 people.

On average, there have been two or four tailings pond ruptures every year around the world over the last decade, with a relatively high number of them occurring in places like Myanmar, Brazil and China.

And with even more mines to be built in the coming decades to meet the demand for minerals and metals from a world switching to renewable energy and electric cars, that raises the spectre of increased tailings pond failures around the world, according to Safety First a new report by Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada.

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