On 25 January 2019 hundreds of people perished when a tailings dam at an iron ore mine in Brazil failed catastrophically. Liquified waste suffocated workers in seconds, and filled the valley below with sludge, destroying lives and livelihoods forever. The Brumadinho tragedy captured the world’s attention, and triggered the Global Tailings Review, a multi-stakeholder process co-convened by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, the United Nations Environment Program, and the world’s largest mining companies through the International Council on Mining and Metals. The review was intended to learn lessons from past failures to prevent future disasters.

This book describes the politics of the process from the perspective of two expert panellists who supported the independent chair in drafting a new global tailings Standard. It provides an insider account of the review, its key achievements and its numerous flaws. Hopkins and Kemp document in forensic detail how the Standard came to represent a step change, yet also falls short.

The book provides unique insights into the extent to which the mining industry wielded power to serve its own self-interest. It also describes how different stakeholders in the process sought to counter the collective power of mining companies, and how other global events, from COVID-19 to the destruction of ancient Aboriginal caves in the Juukan Gorge in Australia, shaped the final outcome. The mining industry largely got what it wanted and in doing so limited its ability to overcome its own crisis of credibility. 

Language: English

Publisher: CCH Australia

Region: Global

Type: Book


Hopkins, Andrew. and Kemp, Deanna (2021). Credibility Crisis: Brumadinho and the Politics of Mining Industry Reform. CCH Australia.

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Credibility Crisis: Brumadinho and the politics of mining industry reform

Credibility Crisis: Brumadinho and the politics of mining industry reform