TAILINGS MANAGEMENT

At CAML we are firmly committed to the long term environmental and socially responsible disposal of tailings at our operations. Mineral waste materials are generated by mining operations at Sasa, these are  managed in an effective and responsible manner.

Our aproach

The Sasa Tailings Storage Facility (‘TSF’) comprises five tailings dams, that have been constructed using downstream construction. The downstream design tailings facilities are typically suitable for areas with seismic activity and high rainfall. All Sasa’s tailings dams are designed to take into account the specific environmental setting in which they are located, which includes grain size, slope angle and height of dam wall above the pond.

 

At CAML we aim to minimize associated impacts with regards to waste management. This is why we have committed to transitioning to cut & fill mining and dry stack tailings at Sasa, which will allow disposal of paste tailings underground to minimize the quantity of tailings stored on the surface. The Dry Stack Tailings (DST) method will allow a larger volume of material to be stored in a smaller footprint, this method combined with cut & fill mining will negate the need for additional downstream tailings facilities. By 2026, 70% of Sasa’s mineral waste will be disposed of using these methods, the remaining 30% will be disposed of in the existing TSF 4 over the Life of Mine (LoM).

CAML has committed to reporting to the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (‘GISTM’) for all TSFs by 2024. A working group has been formed, comprising members of the production, tailings, sustainability, community relations and corporate relations teams. This group is overseen by the Group Sustainability Director, to ensure all workstreams are effectively covered.

Tailings Management

Tailings Facilities have the potential to be one of the most significant safety and environmental risks for the mining industry. CAML are committed to minimising this risk by ensuring our facilities are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with industry best practice and standards.

As part of CAML’s governance management strategy for the tailings dams at Sasa, the following processes are in place, which align with GISTM:

  • Accountable Executive – CAML has appointed its CEO as the Accountable Executive is accountable for the safety of tailings facilities and avoiding or minimising the social and environmental consequences of a tailings facility failure.

  • Responsible Person – At Sasa we have appointed a Responsible Tailings Facility Engineer (‘RTFE’), to ensure ownership and appropriate management of the tailings facility. The RTFE consults with the Engineer of Record (‘EOR’), the Accountable Executive as well as the internal site teams such as operations, regulatory affairs, social performance and environment. The RTFE is an appropriately qualified and experienced individual who is based full-time at the operation.

  • Engineer of Record – Sasa has appointed an independent and appropriately qualified, experienced, and licensed EOR. The EOR has responsible charge over the design of the facility and provides ongoing support during operations and through the lifespan of the facility.

  • Inspections – The tailings facilities at Sasa are regularly inspected by our appropriately qualified operational staff daily. Additionally, an external Independent Tailings Engineer is responsible for monitoring, reviewing and reporting on Sasa’s TSFs on a monthly basis. The Independent Tailings Engineer produces a monthly report and presents the report findings to Sasa’s management and TSF Stability Committee.  Key aspects reviewed include:

      • levels in the piezometers in the dam wall

      • TSF drainage flow rates and water quality

      • survey levels

      • grain size analysis from the cyclones

      • height of the dam wall relative to pond levels etc

      • dam slope angle relative to design

  • TSF Stability Committee – the Committee meets on a monthly basis and is attended by members of the TSF operational team, EOR, RTFE, Independent Tailings Engineer, Sasa Technical Director, Sasa Environment Manager and chaired by the Sasa General Director. The Committee remit is to review monitoring data from the Independent Tailings Engineer and other key aspects of TSF management including compliance with GISTM

  • Independent Audits – Independent audits of the facilities are undertaken annually to assess whether the design, construction and operation of the facilities meets international best practice standards.  The Audit will also provide recommendations to reduce risks associated with the TSFs going forward. The results of the audit and the implementation progress of any recommendations are conveyed to the Board of Directors via our quarterly Sustainability Committee meetings.

Review & Monitoring of Sasa's Tailing Storage Facilities

Sasa’s tailings dams have been constructed in line with North Macedonian standards. The monitoring data generated from monitoring of the tailings facilities is regularly reviewed by an external Independent Tailings Engineer for the University of Goce Delcev, Stip. This information is also shared with the regulator.

In 2016, Golder Associates (global tailings dam experts) undertook an audit and review of the facilities at Sasa and, in February 2019, CAML instructed that group to perform a third-party stability review of TSF3.2.

In September 2020, global consultancy, Knight Piésold, was retained to undertake a full independent review of TSF4 following the leakage.

During July 2021, Knight Piésold undertook an independent tailings facility audit at Sasa to assess whether the design, construction and operation of the facilities met international best practice standards and to provide recommendations to reduce risks associated with the TSFs going forward. Subsequent audits will be undertaken on an annual basis.

During H2 2022, Sasa will complete the installation of an automated monitoring and surveillance system which will include but not be limited to piezometers, water quality sensors and other technologies to monitor the tailings facilities. Pre-determined trigger levels for surveillance activities are in place at Sasa, when a trigger level is breached, trigger action response plans (‘TARP’) are in place.

1

Status: Closed

In operation: 1964-1974

Height: 44m

Current TSF storage volume: 1.4 Mm3

Planned 5-year TSF: storage volume: As above

2

Status: Closed

In operation: 1974 - 1990

Height: 62m

Current TSF storage volume: 4.8 Mm3

Planned 5-year TSF: storage volume: As above

3.1

Status: Closed

In operation: 1990-2003 / 2006-2007

Height: 61m

Current TSF storage volume: 4.9 Mm3

Planned 5-year TSF: storage volume: As above

3.2

Status: In closure phase

In operation: 2007- 2020

Height: 67m

Current TSF storage volume: 5.3 Mm3

Planned 5-year TSF: storage volume: As above

4

Status: Active

In operation: 2020 - 

Height: 66m (final height based on Project Design)

Current TSF storage volume: 1.0Mm3 as of 06.2022

Planned 5-year TSF: storage volume: 1.8

Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM)

In February 2022, consultants, WSP Golder, updated the closure plans for Sasa, which includes closure of the tailings storage facilities. Long term monitoring procedures of the older facilities are already in place, and future mine closure plans and requirements include regular tailings dam monitoring. Formal analysis of the downstream impact on communities, ecosystems and infrastructure has also been undertaken by the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Skopje, North Macedonia and by SRK Consulting.

Closure

CAML has committed to the final implementation of the GISTM standards at its Sasa mine in North Macedonia during 2024.

During Q1 2021 a working group was formed, comprising members of the production, tailings, sustainability, community relations and corporate relations teams, overseen by the Group Sustainability Director. The working group has developed and are in the process of implementing the ‘GISTM action plan’, aiming for compliance by 2024.

Sasa’s progress of implementing GISTM was assessed as part of the July 2021 Knight Piesold audit.