Evaluation of Tailings Behaviour for Dam Breach Assessments

Evaluation of Tailings Behaviour for Dam Breach Assessments

Authors: Amy L. Adams, Ken Brouwer, Peter K. Robertson, Violeta Martin
Conference: Tailings and Mine Waste 2022
Date: November 6-9, 2022


Dam breach analyses for Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) are used to predict the rate and extent of potential runout from hypothetical failures, to guide Emergency Preparedness and Response planning, and to develop appropriate risk mitigation strategies. For TSFs with significant surface ponding, the breach assessment should consider the potential for a fluid flow release of ponded water along with eroded and liquefied tailings. For TSFs with no significant ponding, the breach assessment needs to consider flow slide or slump type failures due to liquefaction of the tailings. Index tests, rheological tests, and Cone Penetration Test (CPT) data can be combined to characterize the variability and expected behaviour of the tailings material. Practical mitigation measures can be used to reduce tailings flowability, enhance impoundment stability, and reduce the risk from a tailings dam breach.


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