Tailings and Waste Management

Tailings—the residue from minerals processing—is a critical area of environmental management, and tailings storage facilities are an issue of global concern to the mining industry. At SSR, we manage our tailings facilities responsibly, and to the applicable international standards and to applicable local laws and regulations to meet site-specific conditions. Tailings management is a key component of our Environmental Impact Assessments and our corresponding management plans.

All tailings facilities are monitored as part of our regular environmental monitoring programs. In 2019, we were in full compliance with all internal and external requirements.

In 2019, SSR introduced an enterprise-wide tailings management policy, and created an Independent Tailings Review Board in addition the third-party tailings facilities review. The review board is comprised of recognized geotechnical, water, and mine closure experts.

Tailings Management at Seabee

The Seabee mine has two tailings management facilities, the East Lake and Triangle Lake facilities. In 2019, we began an expansion project on the Triangle Lake facility, with expected completion in 2020. The Seabee facilities operate in accordance with a Tailings Operation Maintenance and Surveillance Manual, which was developed by recognized independent engineering experts, and follow the Canadian Dam Association Safety Guidelines.

A water treatment plant, installed in 2017, separates solids and treats water, which flows to a settling pond, and from there through a series of wetlands before being discharged to the northern arm of Laonil Lake. All discharged water meets provincial standards.

Tailings Management at Puna

At Puna Operations, ore from the Chinchillas mine is processed at the Pirquitas facilities. Tailings are disposed into the mined-out Pirquitas pit. This design innovation eliminated the need for an expanded tailings facility, which reduced costs and minimized our overall environmental footprint. No cyanide is used in the processing of Chinchillas ore, eliminating any cyanide concerns within the tailings.

The existing Pirquitas tailings facility is still in use, as an emergency alternative to the pit disposal, and it may be used as a water treatment pond in the future.

Tailings Management at Marigold

In 1994, the Marigold Mine became a heap leach operation, and its tailing facility was decommissioned and reclaimed. The closed tailings facility is monitored on an ongoing basis.

2019 Tailings Deposition

  Tailings Volume (m3)
Seabee mine 195,555
Puna Operations 756,191