Sustainability, ethics and risks

Sustainability, ethics and risks results from a discussion we read on LinkedIN. The discussion arose after our friend Giuseppe di Capua cited SUSTAINABLE MINING – WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT MEAN? . The author of that paper is David Ovadia, for the @IAPG blog ( ). The core of the discussion These days,  mining projects oftentimes tout their ‘sustainability’. The term reverberates from sources like the UN’s sustainable development goals. David Ovadia wonders if the term sustainable  can be used in mining.…

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CIM Tailings Workshop Series comments

Within the frame of the CIM Tailings Workshop Series  pre-workshop comments participants were asked three questions aiming at “feeding” the discussions. Below are the three questions and our “short” replies.  What is a tailings system? From a physical point of view, not in order of importance: start at the pumps in the mill, pipelines, spigots, dam(s), all water management ancillary facilities (including diversions, decants, spillways), roadway at the crown, seepage collection facilities, decant raft and pipes, monitoring, investigations and testing…

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A tale of hazards, risks and resilience

A tale of hazards, risks and resilience came to my mind while in Venice, end of October. I lived though an extraordinary “acqua alta” (high tide) which submerged approximately 70% of the city and was reportedly the fifth event of such magnitude in 924 years. Aqua alta is a complex event combining high tide and wind driven surge in the Venetian Laguna: South winds hinder the tide outflow and “push” in the Laguna open sea water. Aqua alta is not…

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Laotian hydro dam collapse: more about risks

Last week we discussed a recent catastrophic failure. Now we delve more into the Laotian hydro dam collapse: more about risks. We go back to the first-cut estimates we published. They delivered staggering values at portfolio level and, of course,  intolerable risks. The image above courtesy of MDA shows an image with the: location of the collapsed dam, partially drain reservoir, flooded fields and changes in river channels, and finally, flooded villages. In an international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region we read interesting…

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Common Cause Failures impact Risks

Today, we look at what happens when Common Cause Failures impact Risks. Common Cause Failures impact Risks defined Common cause failures (CCFs) are almost “simultaneous” failures of specific system’s elements resulting from single shared causes or coupling factor (or mechanisms). By applying the definition above we can immediately see there are two families of CCF: The coupled CCF, i.e. interdependent failures where one element failure drives the failure of another element and The uncoupled CCF where Physical or environment stresses…

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Landslides risk assessment

Natural and man-made slopes portfolio require Landslides risk assessment in order to ensure sustainable management. Slopes present hazardous geo-morphological processes such as landslides which can occur discretely (some deformation, cracking followed by a large movement) or “continuously” (deformations ranging between a few millimeters and several centimeters per years with occasional accelerations followed by a return to “average velocity”). Shall we manage hazards or risks? Any slope, anywhere in the world, has a probability of occurrence (of “first” failure). Continuously sliding…

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Solar Storm hazard and risks

We look today at Solar Storm hazard and risks after discussing Volcanoes and Meteorites. This video shows both X-class flares from June 10, 2014. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Like we did for the other “mega” hazards, we will start with a bit of history. “Carrington-class” solar storm hazard and risks On September 1st –2nd 1859, people observed one of the largest recorded geomagnetic storms due to solar activities. Beside anomalous and wide-spread auroras occurrences, telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed,…

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Wall Street and the risks of tailings dam failures

Wall Street and the risks of tailings dam failures Wall Street and the risks of tailings dam failures have been the object of numerous discussions in this blog. A bit more than two years ago we published this. We included a review and a short video from a course we gave in Brazil (Minas Gerais) in 2013, two years prior to the Bento Rodrigues (Samarco mine) dam disaster. We stated that “someone” would soon go to jail for a failed…

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