Tailings-Management

Mine tailings are fine-grained material that remain after the minerals have been extracted from crushed ore. Tailings can be solid or a slurry of fine particles and water, and are held in engineered tailings storage facilities that are designed to safely contain the waste.

As a member of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), Hudbay follows the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program and is implementing an updated tailings management protocol consistent with TSM’s updated protocol at all of our operations. Our protocol builds on a continual improvement process for tailings management to achieve the goal of zero catastrophic failures of tailings facilities and no significant adverse effects on human health or the environment. The protocol emphasizes management processes, senior executive oversight, and expert third-party reviews that ensure appropriate technical standards of construction, maintenance and operation.

In 2018, we developed a Tailings Governance Charter to further strengthen our internal governance processes related to tailings management, to ensure the appropriate processes are in place and that all of our tailings facilities are constructed and operated in a manner that protects public health and safety. At present Hudbay has seven tailings and water retainment structures/facilities - four in Manitoba and three in Peru. These are managed in accordance with the requirements of the Charter. The reviews and inspections in 2018 found all facilities and structures were in compliance with our standards and best practices.

The Manitoba and Peru business units maintained their TSM ratings (AA and A, respectively) across all the tailings management indicators in the 2018 TSM Progress Report. Both business units are updating their tailings management processes in preparation for reporting against the new requirements in the updated protocol.

At our Rosemont project in Arizona, we plan to use an alternative method of tailings disposal called dry-stack or filtered tailings. This method – which involves dewatering tailings prior to placing them in a storage facility – offers numerous advantages over other tailings storage options, provided climactic conditions support the technology. These include reduced requirements for water consumption and land and the ability to conduct concurrent reclamation. Dry-stack also nearly eliminates the risk of groundwater contamination and catastrophic tailings dam breaches. Rosemont’s state-of-the-art dry-stack tailings facility will be one of the largest in the world, requiring half the water for twice the production, thereby establishing new standards for responsible mining.

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