What lies ahead?

What lies ahead?

Jan 5th, 2022

What lies ahead? Well, first of all we wish all the serene and fruitful 2022 we all deserve despite the uncertainties looming. Of course our thoughts go to those who in 2021 endured hardship both physical, mental and economic. May the future bring to you and your Families some solace.

What lies ahead

In these troubled times we keep a very high level of alert with respect to the global sanitary and geopolitical situation to steer toward safety. The situation is to say the least very confused, but it appears there are some positive signals ahead.

For us, one of those is that our latest book Convergent Leadership-Divergent Exposures; Climate Change, Resilience, Vulnerabilities, and Ethics is turning to be quite successful.

We also follow Marcus Aurelius stoic teaching: “Focus on what you can act, the rest is negative noise.” 

Our plan for 2022 includes a number of publications at international conferences and reaching a milestone in our development that not long ago seemed like an unreachable dream.

A bit of Riskope R&D history

At Riskope we have used quantitative risk assessment as a decision-making tool for more than twenty years. The environmental restoration of the Balangero asbestos dumps (1999, as reported in Oboni et al., 2006) was a first in the world-example of applying such a methodology to mining.

Ten years ago (2012, Is it true that PIGs fly when evaluating risks of tailings management systems) we published our ideas at TMW. By that year we had carried out numerous tailings quantitative risk assessment world-wide in partnership with local engineering companies.

We then undertook to codify our approach for tailings dams and other mining structures. By 2014 we distilled it in a platform called ORE2_Tailings™ specifically designed to solve tailings storage facilities conundrums. ORE2_Tailings™ preceded GISTM’s requirements and is ISO 31000  and complies with GISTM.

The ORE2_Tailings™ milestone

For the first time in Riskope’s history we are reaching the milestone of 100 dams/year deployment with ORE2_Tailings™ (©Riskope, 2014-*). They are located in North and South America, Central and Southeast Asia, Austral Africa and Europe. They are active, non-active, closed facilities of all types in a wide range of climatic conditions spanning from sub arctic to wet tropical areas.

We can proudly say that we have deployed the same approach on hundreds of dams world-wide. As a result we have build a unique set of experience.

Is ORE2_Tailings™ a software?

ORE2_Tailings is made out of various elements of software. However, we consider it a platform and we will not make it into a software/app simply because:

  • The world portfolio of tailings dams includes too many “variants”. Indeed, many more than the types of cross-section and basic materials.
  • The complexity of the ancillary water management systems one encounters in tailings storage facilities. As a matter of fact, each element has to be carefully evaluated, including its interactions with the others and the dam itself, especially since their performance is crucial to the survivability of the system in case of extreme, climate change related, events.
  • A dam is indeed a system, and cannot be simplified into a “stability problem” without considering the various conditions it undergoes under its life, such as, for example: drained, undrained, seismic, residual/liquefaction in an explicit manner, together with the ancillary water management elements.

Thus, if ORE2_Tailings™ had to be credible as a software it should include a database with hundreds of alternative configurations. Moreover it should allow to “build the model” of the considered facility. Any missing alternative would lead the user to attempt to take shortcuts. And that is a very unpleasant thought, when human lives and the environment are at stake.

More about the ORE2_Tailings™ systemic approach

The dam system knowledge base includes all the archival documentation since inception of the project. This in addition to inspections, incident and near-misses reports, monitoring results, etc.

Encoding these into the data to run ORE2_Tailings™ is a step of paramount importance. In our experience a third party eye is necessary to distill a balanced set of data and avoid biases. This is required as GISTM promotes: “engagement in a way that is demonstrably objective and should not allow conflict of interest or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgments”. As a matter of fact “self-assessments” based on unsupervised data feeds into a “software” go against these requirements.

Monitoring data also require expert third party review in order to ensure they are meaningful and as unbiased as possible. We have too often seen stakeholders censor “unfavorable”, discard them leaving the way to unwanted exposures.

What lies ahead?

In 2022 we will publish a number of papers on the following themes:

  • Tailings dam mitigation through risk-informed decision making: following a dam life with backward and predictive risk estimates.
  • Case studies on ALARP optimization following GISTM/ICMM requirements.
  • Quantitative climate change data inclusion in ORE2_Tailings™ allowing to check the efficiency of proposed mitigation and bring rationality into a field fraught by uncertainties.
  • Data gathering/monitoring platforms seamless link to ORE2_Tailings™ delivering swift updates.
  • TCFD and TNFD for mining, tailings operations, with particular focus on the necessary quantitative risk assessment

We will also promote a new interactive mode for ORE2_Tailings™ deployments. This is especially geared toward clients that want to keep their “knowledge base” totally confidential, yet they understand the value of an expert eye vetting their ORE2_Tailings™ data feed.

Closing note

Undoubtedly we are living difficult times, with planetary crises and uncertainties. However, we remain optimistic and focussing on what we can act. Thus, we look forward to the challenges and milestones ahead.

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Category: Hazard, Optimum Risk Estimates, Probabilities, Risk analysis, Risk management

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