Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management.

Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management.

Jun 16th, 2021

Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management (GISTM) is multifaceted. ORE2_Tailings™ is a risk assessment platform specifically Riskope designed specifically for tailings systems. When we deploy it to a portfolio of dams, possibly over multiple properties, it allows for tactical and strategic planning.

Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management.

We have already discussed the single dam case in relation to ICMM • Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (2020)  and the conformance protocols. Today we present an example of deployment at portfolio level.

Why deploying ORE2_Tailings™ at portfolio level?

In this day and age of IoT, big data and remote monitoring and flashy all encompassing reporting applications using alert thresholds we live in a paradox. Indeed, one risks paralysis by analysis and/or to lose track on what is actually important. The result can be, in particular, to misplace mitigative investments and in general to offer an illusion of safety. That is because of data “indigestion”, arbitrarily defined alert thresholds and a multitude of other factors.

Mitigative investments are not an infinite resource and mining companies owning large portfolios of active and inactive/closed structures find themselves in a usual conundrum. That is where to act first and get the best RoI? The letter I means here mitigative investment.

ICMM Standard GISTM does not really solve the conundrum

The GISTM requires dam break analyses to be run following the logic exemplified by the flow-chart below.

Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management icmm doc

These are notoriously based on many assumptions and can lead to quite diverse conclusions. Despite the dam break studies, GISTM then proposes an oversimplified way of classifying a dam which leads to many dams being in the very high to extreme category. See Requirement 4.1 and Annex 2, Table 1

Under these conditions mining companies simply do not know where to act first and may then resolve to spend excessive moneys on programs that will not solve their problems. For instance, monitoring future conditions while neglecting dam’s system “birth defects”, or mitigating potential brittle failures by increasing the factor of safety to vaguely specified levels (see ICMM conformance protocols requirement 4.6, 7.2).

Certainly the requirements of GISTM focus the attention of mining companies in the good direction, but we see the possibility that many will fall to the temptation of “documenting” rather than “solving” issues.

What is Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management

Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings™ support for ICMM standard on tailings management focuses on:

The prioritization of risks can be made using clients’ own, or GIST consequences. However, we strongly advise to use a more complete and realistic consequence formulation which includes simultaneous and additive multiple dimensions such as:

  • harm to people,
  • environmental losses,
  • physical losses,
  • reputation and finally,
  • crisis potential,
  • etc…

ORE2_Tailings™ offers a simplified consequence evaluator. Riskope calibrated the model on the last decade of catastrophic tailings accidents consequences. The model uses easily observable “symptoms”.

Finally, the prioritization of risks can be:

  • a classic but inefficient “top to bottom” one
  • or, adding significant value to the process, one using the client tolerance threshold (section 13.2) as well as societal thresholds (same book, section 13.1 or Risk evaluation for dam break ).

The results of the example below use this second approach.

Tailings facilities portfolio ORE2_Tailings™ example

For this post we have selected a fictitious portfolio of real-life dams. Like usual we respect client’s confidentiality and therefore we cannot even show schemes and drawings.

Let’s start with the content of the ORE2_Tailings™ deployment report.

Generating the knowledge base for ORE2_Tailings™ risk prioritization.

  • The document uses a detailed glossary, which is, as far as we know, ISO 31000 and GISTM compatible. Riskope also uses a semi-automated archival discovery platform to help building the knowledge base relative to the considered portfolio, based on the documents we receive.
  • We then evaluate the archival documents completeness and results, and distill the ORE2_Tailings™ Key Risk Indicators/Key performance indicators for each TSF and each one of their dams’ systems.
  • We identify and flag Interdependencies for analysis.

Together, the first part of the report constitutes the context of the study/body of knowledge in compliance with ISO 31000 and GISTM.  

Using the knowledge to evaluate risks

The report then defines:

  • success/failure criteria leading to the definition of what constitutes a failure in the report;
  • failure causalities and probabilities of failure for each dam in the portfolio. Their evaluation follows various conditions as applicable (ESA, USA, Pseudostatic, residual strength, liquefaction) and as the available data allow.
  • ORE2_Tailings™ then benchmarks the probabilities of failure with respect to the world-wide portfolio (record of hundred years of failures) we established in 2013 (Oboni & Oboni) and theoretically confirmed by a UBC thesis (Taguchi, 2014).

This second part leads to the risk prioritization.

ORE2_Tailings™ risk prioritization for tactical and strategic planning

ORE2_Tailings™ can prioritize risks either following “code rules” imposed consequences or our/client’s evaluation. Prioritization can either be a “top to bottom” one or a very efficient and planning friendly approach using explicit risk tolerance.

In this second case ORE2_Tailings™ allows to discuss which risks are tolerable, intolerable but manageable, hence tactical, and finally intolerable and unmanageable, thus strategic. The deployment generally concludes with risk informed recommendations for the highest risk/intolerable dams.

ORE2_Tailings™ can prioritize risks either following “code” imposed consequences or evaluated ones

Dam portfolio ORE2_Tailings support for ICMM standard on tailings management closing remarks

Understanding where and how to allot mitigative funds to:

  • ensure corporate and public safety,
  • maximize value and foster ESG, CSR and SLO

is a vital task for any company around the world.

ORE2_Tailings™ by those who care about value creation, tactical and strategic planning to foster safety, ESG, CSR and SLO

ICMM and GISTM have wide-opened a path that marries the concepts at the base of ORE2_Tailings™. This blogpost is the third of a series that started with our notes after reading the ICMM conformance protocols, followed-up by the ORE2_Tailings™ approach for a single dam.

We look forward to hearing your comments and to see a wide adoption of ORE2_Tailings™ by those who care about:

  • value creation,
  • tactical and strategic planning to foster safety,
  • ESG, CSR and SLO,

at their operations.

In the next blogpost of this series we will explain how to interpret these results.

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Category: Consequences, Mitigations, Optimum Risk Estimates, ORE2_Tailings, Risk analysis, Risk management, Tolerance/Acceptability

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