A risk review was conducted of all significant dams across our operated assets and the assets of our NOJVs in FY2016, which confirmed the dams to be stable.
Tailings dams require continuous monitoring and maintenance, so our focus has shifted to risk identification, governance and monitoring programs. We have identified opportunities for improvements to dam governance and risk management at our operated assets and at NOJVs. The following actions have been taken to address these issues:
- Dam safety reviews consistent with the Canadian Dam Association’s Dam Safety Guidelines are underway at all significant operated and non-operated sites, and are expected to be completed by December 2017. Those reviews include considering how climate change might impact the risk and design requirements for those dams, and will be repeated on a regular basis.
- A centralised function for dams and tailings governance and risk management has been created, to support our site management to apply appropriate dam risk management practices and build internal capability across the Group.
- We have investigated potential technological solutions for better dam management, in conjunction with leading technology providers. We have identified monitoring and early warning as having the greatest potential to enhance dam risk controls in the near term. We are also examining the feasibility of additional technologies to further enhance controls for dams.
- BHP has used the lessons from the dam risk review to contribute to a broader tailings storage review by the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM). That review has resulted in the ICMM releasing a Tailings Position Statement, including a governance framework and benchmarks, which we intend to adopt.
Our focus for FY2018 will be on:
- the implementation of a stewardship program;
- progressing monitoring and early warning technologies and emergency response preparedness;
- further development of BHP’s dams and tailings controls and standards.