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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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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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Comparison of ORE2_Tailings estimated dam failure probabilities

The comparison of ORE2_Tailings estimated dam failure probabilities is an important element of Riskope continued commitment to test the validity of the approach. Quantitative risk assessment in tailings One can perform a Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRA) using various methods. Indeed, for tailings dam risks, they all consist in evaluating the: probability of failure of the dam generated by various pertinent hazards, potential consequences of a dam system collapse (failure) and finally the risk. The technical and mathematical tools for performing…

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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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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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Demands for Zero Risk

Oftentimes when explaining risks to Management or the public “Demands for Zero Risk” objection arise. Repeatedly, stakeholders may point out that any “non zero” risk is unacceptable. Indeed, in the aftermath of any recent accident (Samarco, Cadia, Mount Polley) public opinion, regulators, law enforcement agencies and the media vehemently embrace that vision. However, the first reaction should be to declare that goal  as not realistic as any endeavor has intrinsic risks. Indeed, we are exposed to hazards and resulting risks…

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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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