Questions on ALARP studies at Tailings 2022

Questions on ALARP studies at Tailings 2022

Jul 13th, 2022

 Readers and conference delegates asked the following Questions on ALARP studies at Tailings 2022 and when they read a case study on ALARP optimization.

Innovation in Dams Screening Level Risk Assessment

National regulation compliance

Are the results of an ALARP analysis consistent with national regulations and design requirements? 

When we perform an ALARP analysis we consider local regulations. These will drive some a priori mitigative selections by the engineer of record. These bear on the nature and aim of mitigation stages  for the ALARP analysis. For instance, seismic codes, riverbanks protection, etc.

As a matter of fact, local regulations may also influence the order of implementation of potential mitigation alternatives. As a result we can make ALARP analyses compliant with any national or international design requirement.

Is it always necessary to evaluate risk “quantitively” as a cost?

Risk is the combination of probability of failure and the related “cost” of consequences. If you want to prioritize a portfolio of dams, perform rational ALARP analyses you need quantitative estimates of both components of risk. That is the probability of failure and cost of consequences.

Reducing risk to one or the other component is wrong and misleading because:

  • A study of the probability of failure alone is a hazard study. Thus it will prioritize dams in terms of their likelihood of failure and not of their potential impacts. Furthermore,
  • studying the consequences alone places high/extreme consequences dams “in the same categories”, and does not allow to prioritize them. The results for a large portfolio are overwhelming and do not help owners to select where to act first. Indeed, among the high or extreme consequences dams in a portfolio there may be some that have a significantly smaller (or higher) probability of failure.

Do you consider the socio-economic effects to the surrounding communities in the event of dam failure?

Our ORE2_Tailings™ deployments consider a sophisticated formulation of the potential consequences that include socio-economic effects. 

Indeed, the ORE2_Tailings™ built-in consequence estimator considers at least five dimensions of potential failures, including:

  • BI: Business interruption (e.g., work stoppages for various reasons)
  • H&S: Health and safety (e.g., fatalities and injuries etc.)
  • PL: Physical losses (e.g., equipment and infrastructure damages, third parties damages)
  • ED: Environmental (e.g., clean-up cost and fauna, fisheries and flora rehabilitation, etc.) and finally,
  • CR, RD: Crisis and Reputation (including legal costs, fines and liabilities)

In all the considered dimensions the effects on the surrounding communities are explicitly included.

The final consequence estimate is made of the sum of the dimensions as experience has shown that the worst mono-dimensional estimate is blatantly wrong.

ORE2_Tailings™ anchors consequences to reality using a “statistic” of more than a decade of publicly known failures around the world.

Closing remarks on Questions on ALARP studies at Tailings 2022

The ORE2_Tailings™ ALARP deployments performed to date show that one can use ORE2_Tailings™ in full conformance with GISTM and national codes and regulations.

As a result we foster healthy and rational discussions between the owner, the engineer of record and regulators as well as other stakeholders.

We firmly believe that the era of “trust us”, “it is safe”, “we do so… because we did it at … and it worked” is finished. If the mining industry wants to maintain or regain credibility we need to apply modern methodologies.

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Category: Mitigations, Optimum Risk Estimates, ORE2_Tailings, Risk analysis, Risk management, Uncategorized

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