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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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Dam portfolio risks—a few definitions

Dam portfolio risks—a few definitions aims to bring clarity on terms definitions that oftentimes remain shrouded in mystery. Risk Framework Risk analysis frameworks provide a methodological basis for establishing a transparent and defensible evaluation of the risk generated by a given dam and/or portfolio of dams. They can be qualitative, semi-quantitative or fully quantitative. The framework is essentially a repeatable evaluation scheme which may rely on: quantification of expert judgment, subjective probabilities, empirical/statistical observations or probabilistic models (Stamatelatos et al.…

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Tailings dams design and experience

Lately several tailings dam failures rocked the mining world. Despite the relative high frequency of these events we have heard engineers qualify the failures as “one in a million”, “extremely rare” or even “black swans”. Today we want to discuss a few concepts on tailings dams design and experience. In particular, we will focus on some disconcerting qualifiers like the ones we just cited above. For example, given the experience of tailings dams catastrophic failures  resulting from combinations of various…

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Of Human and Dams Health

Someone asked us to do a ELI5 tailings dam failure (i.e. Explain me Like I am 5, aka explain in layman’s term what are the problem in the management of dams). We find the similarities on common traits of Human and Dams Health particularly striking and hope it helps people to understand the missing pieces. Human Health Human health is a complex field. Numerous factors (Key performance Indicators) may generate diseases which provoke failure modes, such as: Heart issues Lungs…

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AI with poor data and extreme events

We have been speaking about AI with poor data and extreme events in recent blogs and there is a chapter touching on this in our book. Big data, machine learning and AI can only work if, well, big data exists. A recent MIT study has shown this. AI with poor data and extreme events, a risky mix In mining, dams failures are relatively rare events despite what sensationalistic media and activists state without delving with detailed numeric analyses or by…

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