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Mining Waste

BAT Reference Document

The Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the management of tailings and waste-rock in mining activities covers activities related to tailings and waste-rock management of ores that have the potential for a significant environmental impact. In particular the work sought out activities that can be considered as examples of “good practice”. Mining techniques and mineral processing are only covered as relevant to tailings and waste-rock management. The intention is to raise awareness of such practices and promote their use across all activities in this sector.

The starting point for the work and the actual development of this document is the Communication from the European Commission COM(2000) 664 on the ‘Safe Operation of Mining Activities’. As a follow-up to the tailings dam bursts in Aznalcollar and Baia Mare this Communication proposed a follow-up action plan to be taken, which includes the elaboration of a BAT Reference Document based on an exchange of information between the European Union’s Member States and the mining industry. This document is the result of this information exchange. It has been developed as a Commission initiative and will also support the implementation of the Directive on the management of waste from extractive industries, which requires measures taken to be based on BAT.

This initiative was developed under the auspices of the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (, hosted by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) of the Joint Research Centre.