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Tailings dam interdependent failures and consequences quantifications

Tailings dam interdependent failures and consequences quantifications

Sep 13th, 2018

Tailings dam interdependent failures and consequences quantifications are studied in Tailings 2.0 as they are often present even within a single dam cross section. In this case they are called internal inter-dependencies. Inter-dependencies are also known as domino effects.

Tailings dam interdependent failures and consequences quantifications

First we look at the tailings dam interdependent failures. Figures 1, 2 show two classic examples, of interdependencies. These are present in many mines and require careful evaluation.

Tailings dam interdependent failures and consequences quantifications

Fig. 1 Possible cross-section inter-dependencies. Local failures, a or c, can evolve into the global b.

Tailings dam interdependent failures and consequences quantifications

Fig. 2 Possible cross-section inter-dependencies. Spigotting line burst can evolve into a dam break.

Pipe spills are rather common. If the pipe is in unfavourable position, unprotected, then, as a function of the erosion potential of the Down Stream face of the dam damages are likely.

An obvious mitigation is pipe patrolling, instrumentation, etc. but experience has shown that the efficiency of those mitigation can be less than hoped for.

Tailings dam consequences quantifications

Each Risk Assessment requires the definition of consequences for the various scenarios considered for each specific element of the system under consideration. In essence, as pointed out in a prior post Consequences are multidimensional and the final result is the sum of the various dimensional components. Indeed, it is a serious mistake to “select” the worst dimension as the value for the consequence, as it is oftentimes suggested in risk assessments “instructions to prepare FMEA, risk matrix approaches”.

Here is an example list of dimensions we identified for a study with their (also additive) sub-components:

Direct physical losses:

  • Fixed equipment
  • Mobile equipment
  • Infrastructures and finally
  • Business Interruption

Health and Safety: (none of these include chronic effects –see environmental)

  • Harm to workers.
  • Harm to outsiders.

Environmental. If dust and others byproducts, i.e. for example contaminated water are released at code limit values this study assumes there are no chronic effects.

  • Water releases
  • Tailings releases
  • Haz mat releases and finally
  • Dust releases

Reputational Damages. These will arise for example from:

  • chronic releases of material, for example in high density residential areas. Public oftentimes perceives them as hazardous, even if they comply with codes;
  • incidents and accidents that destabilize the public;
  • alterations of the perceived environment, for example change of colors, even if they bear no measurable consequences;
  • lack of communication and finally
  • lack of empathy and care.

Reputational Damages may lead to crises of various types and depth (cost), legal proceedings and consequences and ultimately suspensions of licenses, business interruption, etc. The areas of the environment reportedly more prove to generate these damages are:

  • highway,
  • residential
  • water courses receiving mine outflows (including accidental ones).

Tailings and Mine Waste TMW2018 Short Course: Tailings 2.0

we will teach how to do all of this in our course.

We can give corporate courses custom tailored to you needs and covering sectoral (Tailings systems) or corporate spectrum (ERM).

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Category: Consequences, Optimum Risk Estimates, Risk analysis, Risk management

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