Observations from Tailings 2019

Top industry insights from Joe Carr, Director of Mining Innovation, Inmarsat Enterprise.

In early July I was on the ground at Tailings 2019 in Santiago, Chile. It was a really well-attended show, which came as no surprise given the industry’s increasingly intense focus on dam monitoring and management.

What was most interesting for me was the palpable shift from planning to action, with discussions around the legal foundations being put in place in parts of South America upon which the future of tailings dam management will be built.

And this move towards action wasn’t only the reserve of industry bodies: representatives from mining companies large and small, spoke to me candidly about the forces from within and outside of their organisations, driving them to reconsider their approaches to tailings management.

The great thing about the event and the workshops that we attended with the ICMM and various governments, was the development of a collaborative approach, which I have sometimes felt we have lacked as an industry. Mining companies, service providers, start-ups, industry bodies and regulators all openly communicating and acknowledging the challenges we face.

Open collaboration, dialogue and transparency are key behaviours that will drive the industry toward the adoption of global standards that govern our approaches to tailings management. Those companies that don’t join in the conversation will be left behind and will be dragged kicking and screaming into a new world where other players have decided on the behaviours that will ultimately govern their profits.

The Inmarsat team was pleased to be invited to contribute to these forums. While we aren’t a miner, we have a dedicated mining team, a history in delivering critical safety services and over twenty years of experience in supporting the mining sector with satellite connectivity.

We will be contributing and watching the development of dialogue around standards with interest and – in the spirit of collaboration – would be pleased to learn more about the industry’s challenges and share some of our learnings as we have gone about developing the world’s first truly global tailings monitoring solution.

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