Mount Isa Mines Tailings Storage Facility

Mount Isa Mines owns and operates a tailings storage facility 3.9 kilometres south-west of Mount Isa, Queensland.

Tailings are the materials left after processing the ore that is mined from our local operations. They typically contain some remnant metals, including zinc-lead-silver and copper, but mostly of sand, silt and clay particles.

The tailings storage facility covers an area of 1,500 hectares. It is surrounded by steep hills, which help naturally contain the tailings. The facility comprises five large retaining embankments shown in the image below.

The facility is part of Glencore’s copper and zinc operations at the site and is used to store the material left over from the mining process.

We strictly manage and monitor the facility to ensure it is maintained to the highest possible safety standards.

We are committed to the safe and sustainable management of our facilities. 

Further resources can be found below to learn more about how we operate, manage and monitor the Mount Isa Mines tailings storage facility. 

Tailings Storage Facility Operational Overview

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Emergency Response Plan

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Read more information about Glencore’s industry-leading and sustainable approach to tailings management.

Tailings are the residual materials produced from the processing of ore. Tailings typically comprise of sand, silt and clay particles in a slurry form.

A tailings storage facility is designed and managed to contain the tailings that are produced by a mine.

It is contained within our mining lease approximately 3.9 kilometres south-west of Mount Isa and upstream of both Mount Isa and Lake Moondarra. It covers an area of 1,500 hectares and is contained within a valley and several retaining embankments.

A. Glencore has established a robust governance program through its Tailings Storage Facility & Dam Management Standard, which is aligned with the following national, international and local Queensland guidelines:

The governance program includes routine surveillance, dam safety inspections, and independent dam safety audits and reviews.  

Our tailings storage facilities are designed and constructed to meet and, in some cases exceed, global engineering standards. They are designed to withstand extreme wet weather and significant earthquakes (up to 6.9 magnitude). 

If the Mount Isa Mines tailings storage facility fails, there is a population who would be at risk. However, it is important to understand that it is extremely unlikely the tailings storage facility will fail.

We know this because we are constantly monitoring and assessing its safety. The tailings storage facility has been in use since 1931 and has increased in size since then, with the construction of multiple dams and walls. We have robust systems in place to prevent failures. Our continuous monitoring means we identify and rectify potential issues before they become a risk to people or the environment.

A comprehensive monitoring program is in place which includes; daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections; continuous monitoring of the structure using specialised equipment; regular inspections by independent engineering experts and regular review of management and safety practices by independent auditors.

We are fully prepared in the event of an emergency. We work closely with the Local Disaster Management Group and affected community members to test our plans and ensure everyone understands what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Glencore emergency response and preparedness processes include early warning, which in most cases, will warn the community at least 72 hours ahead in the unlikely event of potential failure. We can do this due to our extensive and continuous monitoring and surveillance. By warning people ahead of time, we help avoid more serious impacts.

If you have any questions about Mount Isa Mines tailings storage facility, please contact us.

Mount Isa Mines Community Feedback Hotline: 1800 982 982
Address: Private Mail Bag 6, Mount Isa QLD 4825

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