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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Uncertainties in risk assessments

Uncertainties in risk assessments derive from data, model and system uncertainties. In addition, these mix with soft issues like language and cultural barriers. There are for example languages where the term “risk” simply does not exist, like in Japanese. The closest word Japanese have in their language is 危険 (kiken). It means danger, risk, hazard, peril, jeopardy, pitfall all in one. Thus it fails to grasp the specific concept of risk and generates confusion. This is the reason they had…

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Tailings dam risk communication

Experience shows that successful risk communications always focuses on planned control measures and precautionary actions rather than on risks. Indeed, like in many other fields, actions speak louder than words. Because actions are what matters to the public. Thus, today, we explore our experience in tailings dam risk communication. In mining, oil and gas and other industries, people demand to know what preventative actions are foreseen. That is even if it is claimed that the likelihood of an accident and…

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Marcus Aurelius stoicism and COVID-19 epidemic

Marcus Aurelius stoicism and COVID-19 epidemic reactions are deeply linked. As famously stated by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and philosopher: “Things do not touch the soul.” Also, for example: “Focus on what you can act, the rest is negative noise.” These deceptively simple statements are keystones of the Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius meant that we are not victims of events, people, or things, but by the opinions we form of them. As he put it, “our perturbations come only from…

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Why climate risk and consequence overcost have common similarities

Today we look at why climate risk and consequence overcost have common similarities. Have you ever been involved in a project whose final budget exploded due to consequence of apparently small, negligible schedule or material risks? Similarly, even thus we record small change in weather averages, big impacts are being noticed. Let’s find out why this happens. Probability of overcost vs. Likelihood of event Lets suppose the consequences of a risk scenario vary between 0 and 20M$ with an average…

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Cognitive biases apply to tailings discussions

Cognitive biases apply to tailings discussions more than one could think. Indeed, cognitive biases can cloud debates and oftentimes lead to worrisome “alternative facts” bordering with fake news. Cognitive biases are likely hidden in glossy documents, websites, seemingly authoritative statistical approaches which are then oftentimes referenced by inattentive readers. The final effect is of course to perpetrate the cognitive drifts. Original authors foster the noble cause of reducing the risks posed by the hazardous structures used to contain tailings, i.e.…

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Notes on Global Tailings Standard Draft for Public Consultation

In follow-up to Aidan Davy’s (ICMM) keynote session at TMW2019, here are our Notes on Global Tailings Standard Draft for Public Consultation. To this date the three co-conveners (UNEP, ICMM and PRI) reportedly did not endorse the draft. Positive Notes on Global Tailings Standard Draft for Public Consultation We found the current draft to be an overall well written document. It encompasses important points on: human rights (see chapter 5 on “what people want” in our latest book) conflict of…

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Light on Tailings dams failures

The Church of England Pensions Board and the Council of Ethics of the Swedish National Pension Funds published some recently collected numbers shedding some light on Tailings dams failures.   How many active dams in the world did we assume earlier? In the literature we oftentimes see the number 3500 to characterize the total tailings dam inventory in the world. We used that number in both the following papers: Oboni, C., Oboni F., Factual and Foreseeable Reliability of Tailings Dams and…

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