Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Geotechnical risks related to tailings dam operations Vanden Berghe, J.-F.; Ballard, J-C.; Wintgens, J-F.; List, B.


Tailings dams are geotechnical structures that are increased in height with time. Several factors typical of tailings dams cause a higher risk of failure compared with other earth structures. The factors that influence the risk of tailings dam failure are discussed in this paper. Important factors include a high water level in the tailings, dam slope, lack of monitoring, inappropriate site investigation and a lack of understanding of the mechanical behaviour of the tailings material. An approach to mitigate and/or control these risks is then proposed based on appropriate site characterization, design analysis adapted to the tailings characteristics and a sufficient monitoring system that is rigorously used. [All papers were considered for technical and language appropriateness by the organizing committee.]

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