PanAust Limited’s Approach to Mine Waste and Tailings Stewardship

Governance and management of tailings


Peter Trout


PanAust Limited

PanAust Limited (PanAust) has constructed and commissioned two mining operations in Laos over the past decade and undertaken major studies for three new mine developments.  Mine waste and tailings management involving potential acid rock drainage and the close proximity of local communities sensitive to water discharge quality have been recurring themes that have confronted PanAust’s project study, development and operational teams.  Superimposed over these considerations has been the need to deal with the effects of intense tropical conditions, undertake substantive annual embankment raises and regular lifting of spillway structures, integrate mine waste and tailings management into production plans and ensure stable long term structures following mine closure.  These challenges have been effectively addressed with solutions that represent leading practice.

A recognition of the criticality of managing the substantial business risks associated with these crucial activities led executive management to establish some years ago a governance structure that ensures that the highest standards are embraced for planning and execution, and most importantly, that these can be guided and monitored by a panel of highly experienced and qualified international specialists reporting directly to PanAust’s Managing Director – the Tailings Independent Review Panel (TIRP).  The governance process has been effective in identifying potential shortcomings in management systems and has led to enhanced management commitment to risk informed designs, design compliance and an overall increase in process rigour.

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