Sustainability Report <SR> 2020

Tailings and storage facilities

“We have a robust governance framework of tailings storage facilities.”


The ICMM, UNEP and PRI co-convened a global tailings review to establish an international tailings management standard. The review was led by Dr Bruno Oberle and has culminated in the launch of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) at a virtual event in August 2020. The standard places a strong emphasis on community engagement, governance and independent review.

Through its membership of the ICMM, AngloGold Ashanti has committed to implement the GISTM at all facilities classified with very high and extreme potential consequences within three years, with the balance being completed within five years of the launch.

This means that, in three years, most of AngloGold Ashanti’s sites will be GISTM compliant. The group’s geotechnical team has developed a gap assessment against the GISTM’s requirements for roll-out to operations starting in 2021.

We have developed a detailed framework for our tailings management practices that sets principles, standards and guidelines for the construction, management and oversight of TSFs. We focus on the sound management of all phases of the TSF lifecycles and recognise that each TSF is unique and that there is no single design or operating technique that can be adopted universally. This tailings management protocol places AngloGold Ashanti in a strong position in relation to compliance with the standard.

Following the sale of our South African and Mali operations, AngloGold Ashanti now manages 22 tailings facilities, down from 34, with 15 active TSFs and 7 inactive (dormant).

The failure of the Brumadinho TSF in Brazil prompted significant amendments to relevant legislation. These changes have prompted amendments to our operating methods, and our operations in Brazil are currently working on converting to dry-stacking operations in advance of decommissioning of their existing TSFs.

In accordance with Brazilian legislation, automated scanning stations have been installed on TSF slopes to track and detect movement. The system is set to trigger warning sirens in line with the emergency preparedness and response plans that have been tested with affected communities.

“The TSF oversight system includes specialist inspections, external third-party reviews, mechanisms for reporting risk and tracking mitigation measures.”


Indicator 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Ore processed (Kilotonnes)
Group 70,02080,76980,07185,41985,504
Argentina 2,2672,8942,8823,3093,141
Cerro Vanguardia 2,2672,8942,8823,3093,141
Australia 12,86612,73211,85111,68710,968
Sunrise Dam 4,0394,0864,0314,0334,041
Tropicana 8,8278,6477,8197,6546,927
Brazil 5,3234,5314,1334,4244,095
AGA Mineração 3,8013,2322,9712,9992,778
Serra Grande 1,5221,2991,1621,4251,317
Ghana 5,6215,1195,3465,0585,129
Iduapriem 5,0095,1015,3465,0585,129
Guinea 11,21610,38210,42911,67712,062
Siguiri 11, 21610,38210,42911,67712,062
Mali 3,7354,7735,1835,0305,093
Sadiola 3,7354,7735,1835,0304,908
South Africa 23,56935,13234,90138,87739,497
Mine Waste Solutions 17,82526,59826,10326,32226,083
Vaal River 2,3143,8004,0827,9408,987
West Wits 3,4304,7344,7164,6154,427
Tanzania 5, 4245,2065,3455,3585,517
Geita 5,4245,2065,3455,3585,517
Tailings deposited per country (Megatonnes)
Argentina2.27 2.89 2.887.653.14
South Africa23.5735.1334.938.8839.5
Overburden and waste rock placed per country (Megatonnes)
South Africa00000

Policies and standards