In the past 30 years, the number of large tailings dam failures around the world has increased, causing irreparable environmental degradation, loss of life and socio economic hardships. This has resulted in mining countries questioning the laws applicable to TSF’s and their contribution in the failure of TSF’s. The common reasons for failure is that dams are not operated accordingly to their design criteria; water balance and construction are not managed properly or there is a general lack of understanding of the features that control safe operations. As a result, well organised and functioning TSF legislation and regulations are of paramount importance.
The objectives of this study are to examine the concept of tailings and identify the technical characteristics of TSF‘s; examine the current state of tailings dam laws and to determine its effectiveness in minimizing tailings dam failures; and to determine the advantages and disadvantages of fragmented and consolidated TSF legislation.
The study focuses on issues concerning legislation and regulations pertain to TSF’s in South Africa and British Columbia, Canada. In conclusion, of this study it was determined that the best TSF legislative framework and regulatory framework for South Africa is a consolidated one. Furthermore, suggestions for new regulations on TSF and how to strengthen legislation are made.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2019.