CDA shares Canadian expertise on mining dams regulation
Responding to a request from the Canadian Embassy in Brazil, CDA arranged to have Andy Small, former chair of the CDA Mining Dams Committee, represent CDA in two presentations in Brazil in March 2016.
Following the failure of a tailings dam at the Samarco mine on Nov. 5, 2015 that cost the lives of 17 people, a committee of the Brazilian Senate is investigating the country’s dam safety policy and regulations.
On March 15, Mr. Small was one of four presenters to the Senate Committee Hearing on Dam Safety. Other organizations that presented were the Brazilian Dam Committee represented by Carlos Medeiros (its ICOLD representative); the Brazilian Association of Engineers and Architects, and the Brazilian Institute of Dam Research. Three Senators and 20 others attended.
While other presentations focused on enforcement of the current laws (Brazil has a national dam safety policy with some relevant state laws as well), Mr. Small shared some Canadian initiatives on dam safety and offered recommendations. Brazil’s legal system and enforcement is different than Canada’s.
On March 16, Mr. Small spent three hours with over 50 representatives of the Minas Gerais State government who are responsible for reviewing, approving, and monitoring dams in the state. Minas Gerais is the centre of mining in Brazil and the largest city, Belo Horizonate, is about 90 minutes from the Samarco site.
In addition to the presentation made for the Senate Committee Hearing on Dam Safety, Mr. Small also did a second presentation on more technical initiatives that Canada is undertaking.
“I believe that my visit was an important first step in promoting CDA and its work, and feels other South American countries may also benefit from presentations from CDA members,” Mr. Small says. “This is an excellent opportunity for CDA, and its members should be ready to assist countries like Brazil in developing technical guidelines or sharing expertise where it can. Canadian dam professionals have much to offer.”
While in Brazil, Mr. Small was hosted by Keith Banerjee from the Canadian Embassy and Claudia Selles from IBRAM (the Brazilian Mining Institute) and supported by two of his Amec Foster Wheeler colleagues from South America, Jose Mello and Don Hickson. Financial support was provided by the Canadian Government and Amec Foster Wheeler.
CDA extends its thanks to Mr. Small for representing CDA well, including investing the considerable time that it takes to prepare two major presentations.