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Ship blocked the Suez canal causing a six days business interruption

Recently the Ever Given Ship blocked the Suez canal causing a six days business interruption (BI). In the aftermath of the incident world media reported that never before a ship blocked in such a way the canal. They added “this is a black swan”, a usual preposterous statement. Many enterprises rely on third party companies for shipping goods. Approximately 10% of the global shipping volume goes through Suez Canal as the canal represent a shorter and safer route from Asia to…

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Neo-mythological risk animals

Various neo-mythological risk animals have caught the imagination of businesses and have had world-wide mediatic success. Unfortunately, sometimes even against their creators will, they generate a slanted image. Many use that image as it allows “iffy” constructs. Furthermore it offers an excuse for a classic human behavior. That is doing nothing and procrastinating. Let’s explain the point: black swans are defined by Taleb as “an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically ones with extreme consequences” however they have been used and…

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Risk Management Guideline for Engineers

The Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board (CEQB) recently published a Risk Management Guideline for engineers. This post discusses some of the concepts and draws parallels with another upcoming publication. Our general comments on Risk Management Guideline for Engineers We saw a number of good points in the Guideline, for instance: a glossary, the clear call for hazard identification, some examples, and finally and perhaps more than anything, the fact it fosters engineers’ awareness for risks. We fully empathize with the desire to generate…

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Comments on a risk assessment tool for tailings storage facilities

A colleague of ours asked for comments on a risk assessment tool for tailings storage facilities paper by Chovan et al (A risk assessment tool for tailings storage facilities (cdnsciencepub.com)). We accepted and decided to prepare this piece. The reason is that we have seen various other attempts by reputable engineering companies to use similar methodologies leading to similar comments from our end. The application of simplified methodologies, or unproven approximations in the field of tailings dams could harm people…

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Risk Analysis of a European Tailings System

We recently reviewed a risk analysis of a European tailings system prepared for a NGO. Although the document is public, we will keep site, owner, NGO and author’s names confidential. Indeed, the aim of this blogpost is not to be polemic, but to foster better quality of such documents. The study encompasses studying four main archival documents and reviewing more than one thousand others. These confirmed the main documents data and interpretation. In addition the authors perfromed a site visit.…

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India dam break Facebook and fake news

India dam break Facebook and fake news finds its inspiration in a series of very recent events. Very unfortunately one of them, the Rishiganga dam collapse (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-55969669), was mortiferous.  World-wide water storage structures are ageing A report by UNU-INWEH,  Ageing Water Storage Infrastructure: An Emerging Global Risk, provides an overview of the phenomenon. Indeed tens of thousands of existing large dams have reached 50 years of age. In addition, many others will approach 100 years. For instance, UK has the…

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Factor of Safety and probability of failure of geostructures

Today we discuss the Factor of Safety and probability of failure of geostructures. We presented this discussion  at TMW 2020 and are delighted to share with you our talk.    This information is applicable to dams as well as dumps and pit slopes. However that requires the analyst pay attention to the specific details pertaining each type of structure. Factor of safety and probability of failure of geostructures The Factor of Safety (FoS) measures the ability of a structure to…

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The eternal confusion between tailings hazard and risks

A comment to a blogpost on tailings failures inspired this comment on the eternal confusion between tailings hazard and risks. Some voices are rising to state that the real number of tailings dams on the planet is around 35,000. Based on that number they then engage in a biased risk discourse. Indeed, we think those arguments are misleading and not helping the cause of tailings risk reduction. Let’s discuss why. The true number of tailings dams on the planet The number…

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