February 4, 2022, Denver, CO, USA – Knight Piésold has recently released a white paper on the implementation of the Engineer of Record (EOR) concept for the projects and Owners that it supports. The white paper “Engineer of Record Services for Tailings Facilities” addresses an external EOR model—one of two primary models that the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (Global Standard) recognizes—and involves a concept for both individual and company roles.
“There remains significant uncertainty about what an EOR is and how to implement the concept on tailings projects,” said Paul Ridlen, President of Knight Piésold USA and a member of Knight Piésold’s Board of Directors. “This white paper sets the standard for Knight Piésold’s approach to delivering best practice services for clients, from defining the role of an EOR (both as an individual and in the context of an engineering firm) to outlining the responsibilities of an EOR during a project and when transitioning to another person or company. It is entirely consistent with the concepts described in the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.”
Although the concept of EOR has been present in North America since the early 20th century, it has not been widely used worldwide and inconsistently used in the mining industry. Attention became focused on the EOR concept and terminology in the mining industry after the Mount Polley tailings failure in 2014. Following other recent tailings dam failures, forensic investigations have identified the importance of an EOR in reducing risk and preventing failures, and the importance of an EOR was emphasized with the publication of the Global Standard. These forensic investigations and efforts by the engineering and mining communities have led to a consensus in the industry that Owners are best served when continuity in the EOR is maintained through the design, construction, and operational phases (and into closure when possible).
Implementation of the EOR concept involves both an individual and a company, as reflected in the Global Standard. Knight Piésold clarifies these relationships by using the term “EOR Company” to refer to the Knight Piésold operating company that enters into a contract with an Owner to provide EOR services. The individual EOR is appointed by the EOR Company, subject to the Owner’s approval, to act on behalf of Knight Piésold to provide technical advice and leadership to the Owner.
In addition to Ridlen, fellow Director David Morgan (Knight Piésold Australia) and former Director Tom Kerr (Knight Piésold Canada) had contributed to the white paper, together with input from the company’s leading tailings dam specialists around the world. The white paper is consistent with the latest guidance from the International Council on Mining and Metals, the Mining Association of Canada, the International Commission on Large Dams, and similar organizations.
“We have been actively engaged in clarifying the role of the EOR for tailings dams, having influenced or informed the policies and guidelines of several mining companies, industry groups, and professional organizations,” said Ridlen. “We continue to support clients through safe tailings management and look forward to contributing to discussions on industry policies and guidelines as the EOR landscape continues to evolve.”