Transportation related mining accidents

Transportation related mining accidents

Aug 27th, 2019

Transportation related mining accidents can be tricky due to their multiple aspects. In addition they often occur outside of the operation perimeter.

Transportation related mining accidents

In general, transport infrastructure is exposed to natural hazards as well as man-made hazards.

Indeed, in a recently published study named “A global multi-hazard risk analysis of road and railway infrastructure assets” produced interesting results.

“~27% of all global road and railway assets are exposed to at least one hazard and ~7.5% of all assets are exposed to a 1/100 year flood event”.

Mining companies oftentimes assume reliable transport infrastructure. Only later they realize how bad transportation related mining accidents can be. That’s because transport infrastructure remains the backbones of a prosperous mining development as it ensure safe ingress/egress of goods and personnel.

Recent Solomon Islands barge accident

We recently read about a bauxite loaded barge losing its cargo in Solomon Islands, in Kangava Bay on remote Rennell Island, close to where another vessel, the MV Solomon Trader grounded in February. The bauxite was mined by the same company that reportedly chartered the cargo ship.

Sea shipping, air transportation, road and finally rail transportation are all exposed to natural and man-made hazards and can generate significant risks.

Transportation related mining accidents examples

Transportation related mining accidents have been in our radar-screen for quite a long time as witnessed by our courses

Examples from our day-to-day practice:

  • Ship loader collapse
  • Wharves damages due to seismic event
  • Concentrate haul truck overturning
  • Acid tanker off road
  • Personnel bus accident
  • Railroad derailment and finally
  • airplane accident transporting personnel

Transportation related mining accidents are sensitive to climate change

Indeed, remembering that ~7.5% of all assets are exposed to a 1/100 year flood event, and considering that the 1/100 events may become way more frequent gives an idea of the sensitiveness of transportation infrastructure to climate change.

Managing climate change risks requires dynamic risk assessment capable of timely updates and what-if scenarios. Additionally risk assessments have to include the capability of evaluating “new normal” patterns.

Satellite imagery can help monitoring supply chain corridors and infrastructure, focusing our attention to the right places within the frame of convergent updatable quantitative risk assessments.

See two levels depending on available information and budget.

Basic Level Optical Observation

Nowadays Google Earth offers extremely valuable satellite derived optical information. User can complement in many inhabited areas by ground-based observations. Google Earth allows to gather information on landuse, residential areas, transportation corridors, etc. We use routinely Google Earth to inspect transportation corridors, infrastructures.

Space Observation Techniques

Commercially available Satellite imagery bring value to operations’ risk assessments as well a to transportation issues. They supply necessary data to the evaluation of probability of failures and consequences. These solutions become attractive for very large surfaces, or if publicly available information is very scarce. The solutions are based on well-vetted and operational-proven algorithms. These are based on a combination of radar and optical imagery, and proprietary algorithms.

Closing remarks

In the coming years we will hear more and more talking about transportation related mining accidents because of the risks they generate.

Many of these risks are relatively easy to mitigate. Proper risk analysis will help developing risk informed decision making tactical and strategic planning including them and their mitigations.

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