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GIS Enabled, Web-based TSF Surveillance Solution

Ansu Louw | Riaan van der Colf | Nika Mincione
Thursday, June 6, 2019
First presented: 
SAIMM | New Technology 2019
Date: Thursday | 06 June
Time: 13:20 PM - 13:40 PM

Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) surveillance involves the collection and analysis of data from field inspections and instrumentation. An effective surveillance programme is essential to ensure safe management of any TSF. The current practice on most South African TSFs is to measure, record and process surveillance data manually. Initial capturing is often done on paper and later transcribed to excel spreadsheets, which are issued by email for interpretation without validation or verification. Interpretation usually involves further processing in excel and re-taking of measurements where large fluctuations are observed, which can lead to delays. Finally, results are communicated to the relevant individuals along with any actions to be taken. The process is subject to human error and turnaround times are dependent on both quality of data and response times of individuals involved at each stage. The objective of the proposed project is to digitise the surveillance process to improve data quality using digital capturing methods with built-in validations; to reduce response times using automated processes for transfer, interpretation and communication of data and results; to improve data storage using secure, managed servers and to improve data accessibility using web-based dashboards accessible to selected users. In addition, where results differ from expected behaviour, this would automatically prompt specific actions to be taken to safely manage or mitigate the risk. Using ESRI’s ArcMap, a map is created, shared and then downloaded onto a smart device where it can be edited using ESRI’s freely downloadable Collector for ArcGIS application. The person in the field can collect data and take photos at preloaded locations using drop down lists and data fields with built-in validations. The application works offline, which means the data can be collected at any time and uploaded when in a network environment to the server (SQL Database) where the person back in the office can view it in real time using ESRI’s Operations Dashboard or a customized website. Data verification and validation can also be done within the database and automatically generate graphs, indicators and other valuable information. While the data collection system is immediately implementable, the long-term plan is to create an inhouse fully comprehensive TSF surveillance system that seamlessly integrates all available data into an easy to interpret format such as an interactive dashboard that is available online. This includes the integration of the current and historic surveillance data, such as piezometers, drain flows, slurry densities, freeboard surveys, drone imagery data, on-site climate stations for the inclusion of weather data and satellite imagery (remote sensing). The integration of all available data will quickly and easily inform assessments of the TSF in a seamless package accessed through a web interface, per mine.

In conclusion, all data can effectively be managed within a controlled, central repository which allows for editor tracking and instant updates, improving the effectiveness of TSF surveillance.


Ansu Louw

Ansu Louw | GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist | SRK Consulting | Johannesburg | South Africa.

Riaan van der Colf

Riaan van der Colf | Geotechnical Engineer | SRK Consulting | Johannesburg | South Africa.


Nika Mincione

Nika Mincione | Geoltechnical Engineer | SRK Consulting | Johannesburg | South Africa.


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