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Industry experts come together on tailings dams

Author(s): 
L. Spies, S. Imrie, W. Rouncivell, A. Louw, R. van der Colf
Date: 
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
First presented: 
African Mining Market
Type: 
Article
Category: 
Mine Waste
 

Safer tailings storage facilities (TSFs) – or tailings dams – can be achieved when mineowners, contractors and engineering consultants work closely together, according to SRK Consulting senior geotechnical engineer Linda Spies.

Speaking after a recent Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) conference focusing on tailings dams, Spies said that mining executives today required more assurance that their tailings dams are safe, with controls becoming much stricter. Greater transparency was also being demanded by other stakeholders such as investors and communities.

“After several hundred lives were lost in two well-publicised tailings dam failures in Brazil in 2015 and 2019, awareness of tailings dam risks has been raised within the mining industry and in the public eye globally,” she said.

“These latest failures were especially significant insofar as senior management at the mining companies were for the first time being implicated directly with charges of manslaughter and environmental
damage.”

Authors: Linda Spies (Senior Geotechnical Engineer) | Sheila Imrie (Principal Scientist) | Wesley Rouncivell (Civil Engineer) | Ansu Louw (GIS Specialist) | Riaan van der Colf (Geotechnical Engineer)
 

SRK Africa