Fine coal particles into two small creeks
These events include the 2014 failure of a tailings pond at a copper-gold mining operation in B.C. that sent 5 million cubic metres of water and tailings sludge into an adjacent lake and creek system, impacting local water supply; and in 2013, a berm failure at a coal mine tailing pond in Alberta that sent water, mud and fine coal particles into two small creeks, leaving a layer of sediment in the creeks into the Athabasca River.
“These events highlight the fact that catastrophic ‘black swan’ events can occur regardless of the quality and thoroughness of on-site engineering and environmental management controls,” Marsh reports in a statement.
Noting that these incidents represent some of the largest loss scenarios to a mining company, Marsh contends they “can impair a company’s ability to meet its financial obligations if not managed and planned for. While it may still be too early to know the full economic impact, it is safe to estimate that the clean-up costs alone may be in the tens of millions of dollars.”
Marsh recommends that mining operations consider key coverages to help the companies best manage related risks.