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Why do tailings storage facility (TSF) failures occur?

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Mining & Resources / Tailings Storage Facilities

Why do tailings storage facility (TSF) failures occur?

The risks associated with tailings storage is constantly evolving. Technological advances enable the exploitation of lower grade ores, which in turn creates higher volumes of waste material requiring safe storage. Moreover, environmental regulations are becoming stricter with bigger consequences for compliance. And because tailings generally do not have an economic value at
this time, storage facilities must be as cost-effective as possible.

Issues and risks can arise starting with the design of a storage structure, but can also include failures of components such as liners or drainage systems. Designs, materials, and structures can vary widely based on the project as well as the immediate environment.

But, as the US EPA points out, “experience gained from ongoing monitoring and analysis allow for changes and improvements in the design to better meet project goals”.

According to a study by the International Commission of Large Dams and the United Nations Environmental Programme, failures often occur due to:

  • Water balance
  • Construction issues
  • A lack of understanding about how the dams work
  • Unpredictable climate events like earthquakes and massive storms

 

Find out about the global changes in TSF legislation in our FREE guide.


FAQ:

What is a tailings dam?

tailings dam monitoring - environmental obligations software - tailings management - tailings storage facility software - tailings storage facility monitoring software - Decipher - DecipherTailings - DecipherGreen

A tailings dam is typically an earth-fill embankment dam used to store byproducts of mining operations after separating the ore from the gangue. Tailings can be liquid, solid, or a slurry of fine particles, and are usually highly toxic and potentially radioactive.

What is a tailings dam failure?

A tailings dam failure is when the physical structure of the dam is compromised and often results in the substance being released.

Why do tailing storage facility failures occur?

According to a study by the International Commission of Large Dams and the United Nations Environmental Programme, failures often occur due to: - Water balance - Construction issues - A lack of understanding about how the dams work - Unpredictable climate events like earthquakes and massive storms

 

 

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