An initiative that aims to improve global tailings management has been launched through a partnership between The University of Western Australia, Rio Tinto and BHP.
Future Tails is a jointly funded program by Rio Tinto and BHP.
Over five years, the companies will invest $4 million ($2 million each) in training, research, education and practice to support tailings and waste management facilities.
The initiative includes leading-edge training programs to build talent and capability; publications that summarise state-of-the-art tailings analysis, design, operation and management; and new research collaborations with industry to drive further innovation.
Future Tails will provide education, training, and professional development to senior executives, senior technical personnel, junior engineers and operational staff in Australia and internationally.
Program Director Professor Andy Fourie, from UWA’s School of Engineering, said there was a clear imperative to improve tailings management.
“Future Tails represents a step change in education, training and accreditation,” Professor Fourie said.
“Moreover, it will drive cutting-edge research and innovation that will feed into future training.”
Program participants will be awarded micro-credentials from UWA and there will be opportunities to follow a postgraduate pathway, which will include a Masters in Tailings Management.
The Global Tailings Standard being developed by the Global Tailings Review will underscore industry management of tailings and waste.
Matt Currie, the Vice President of BHP’s Tailings Taskforce, said there was an increasing demand for tailings expertise, and for qualified people and methods to train these new professionals.
“The program will provide essential training and development to people at all levels of their career, and help reinforce the different career paths within the tailings discipline,” Mr Currie said.
Rio Tinto’s head of Group Technical Mining Santi Pal said it was clear the industry needed to improve operational management and engineering practices.
“We need to enhance this capability right across the industry,” Mr Pal said.
“Future Tails will develop and retrain talent needed to safely and sustainably run mining operations of the future. Over time, it will help support improved global tailings management standards, knowledge-sharing and the transfer of best practice.”
Individuals or organisations interested in learning more about training or education opportunities can register their interest online.