This is the third in a series of independent research papers attempting to improve the quality of descriptive data and analysis of tailings facility failures globally focusing on the relative occurrence, severity and root causes of these failures. This paper updates previously published failures data through 2010 with both additional data pre-2010 and additional data 2010–2015. All three papers have explored the connection between high public consequence failure trends and mining economics trends especially grade, costs to produce and price. This work, the third paper, looks more deeply at that connection through several autopsies of the dysfunctional economics of the period 2000–2010 in which the greatest and longest price increase in recorded history co-occurred across all commodities, a phenomenon sometimes called a supercycle. That high severity failures reached all-time highs in the same decade as prices rose to highs, unprecedented since 1916, challenges many fundamental beliefs and assumptions that have governed modern mining operations, investment decisions, and regulation. It is from waste management in mining, a non-revenue producing cost incurring part of every operation, that virtually all severe environmental and community damages arise. These damages are now more frequently at a scale and of a nature that is non-remediable and beyond any possibility of clean up or reclamation. The authors have jointly undertaken this work in the public interest without funding from the mining industry, regulators, non-governmental organizations, or from any other source.
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