Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Tailings dams in Nevada : an overview Tortelli, G.; Opperman, L.


If the State of Nevada were a country, it would rank as the eighth largest gold producer in the world (NMA, 2014). The state is also a significant producer of silver, copper, barite, lithium, and other minerals. Nevada currently has over 30 active tailings dams permitted through the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR). A variety of conditions, including geology, seismicity, and climate present challenges to both the design and regulation of tailings dams in the state. This paper provides an overview of historic and current regulations and design practices by combining the authors’ experience with information from the NDWR’s Safety of Dams Program database to present a general overview of the tailings dams in Nevada. The goal of the paper is to familiarize mine owners, regulators, and tailings dam designers with regulations and general engineering concepts currently used in Nevada.

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