Strategic operational and tactical planning for tailings hydro dams

We are learning that structural integrity of hydro dams is also becoming an issue. Thus, similarly to tailings dams, we need a strategic operational and tactical planning for tailings hydro dams! Karl Terzaghi, American Society of Civil Engineers, “Terzaghi Lectures, 1974-1982,” American Society of Civil Engineers (1986) ISBN 0-87262-532-X. proposed that a dam rating system should provide ALL of the following: A logical framework for rating the relative safety of a dam Allow for the use of judgment and experience…

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Dam risks informational gap

Dam risks informational gap impacts to a certain extent all dams: hydro, tailings and finally, toxic dumps. There are thousands of active dams around the world significantly different because of: age, function, materials, construction style and care, maintenance care and finally “behavior” or performance. Oroville dam was one of those, like other recent mining catastrophes and the Michigan failures. What do all dams have in common? Dams are all exposed to hazards, e.g. natural, man-made such as excess of confidence,…

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Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management

On Wednesday August 5th ICMM, UNEP and PRI launched the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. In this blogpost we offer some comments on the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. We salute this initiative that we have supported already at draft level. Indeed, at that time we wrote our comments and notes via email and online portal. That was following the public Consultation invitation which gathered a total of 629 responses. The consultation report We found the Global Tailings…

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Limitations, disclaimers and risks

Today we present a story about Limitations, disclaimers and risks. The case related to limitations, disclaimers and risks. This is a case history on limitations, disclaimers and risks. Below is the summary of the case. Like all other consultants, we introduce in our reports verbiage clarifying our reports address specifically a project, a situation. Thus no one should generalize them to other operations, even if these may appear similar. In particular, the verbiage aims at protecting the client from the…

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Dam Monitoring Effects

Dam monitoring effect is a case history. A client acquired a mining properties portfolio. It included inactive dams at closed mines. Some of these structures were relatively well documented, while others were not. As a result, the client was facing important decisions, one of them being the effort to enhance the knowledge on the structures. The question the client asked was: “What happens to a particular dam if the level of knowledge we have on an inactive dam goes from…

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Not all risk assessments are created equal

The UNEP “Mine tailings storage: safety is no accident” report asks mining companies to make environmental and human safety a priority. To ensure mining companies meet that result in management actions and ground operations, a residual risk assessment should be performed. For clarity, residual risk assessments are those that intervene after mitigations or critical controls.  However not all risk assessments are created equal so let’s explore the differences. What are the requirements for a good risk assessment? Risk assessments are…

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Catastrophic failures forensic analyses

Catastrophic failures forensic analyses are, most of the time, left in the hand of experiences engineers. At least, that’s the case for tailings dams failures and other catastrophes like major infrastructural accidents and for instance, aviation. Are we sure that is the best way? Normalization of deviance, management and decision-making are oftentimes ingredients of the catastrophic failure buildup, not only “engineering”. So, we dare to say, Independent Panels should include social scientists. They seem to be the most qualified to…

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Quantifying Tailings Dam Risks at MIRA

Quantifying Tailings Dam Risks at MIRA (Mining Insurance and Risk Association) one hour session took place on June 11th 2020. The talk presented a comprehensive approach to address how to quantify and prioritize tailings dam risks, especially in the context of large dams’ inventories. In this blogpost we summarize the Q/A session that followed the talk, classified by theme. The full talk is viewable on Youtube    At the end we present a synthesis before some closing remarks. Understanding geology and…

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