The failure of tailings management facilities is a major problem worldwide that regularly leads to severe disasters. To address this problem, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) developed “Safety Guidelines and Good Practices for Tailings Management Facilities”. These comprise recommendations to authorities on the necessary legal basis for issuing permits for the safe operation of tailings management facilities as well as recommendations to operators on their safe design. The UNECE called on the governments of UNECE countries to incorporate the safety guidelines into their national regulations and technical standards and to apply them. In subsequent years it became apparent, however, that the implementation of the safety guidelines poses problems because they set out safety standards only in general terms.
The aim of the project was to overcome the problems in the implementation of the UNECE Safety Guidelines for tailings management facilities and to thus permanently reduce the risk posed by these facilities. The practicality of the project outcomes, a Checklist and a Tailings Hazard Index (THI) was successfully tested at two Ukrainian facilities.