Tailings dam failures - Why do they continue to occur?

East, D. R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Recent experiences within certain sectors of the international mining industry suggest an underestimation of the environmental risks associated with the design of mine waste-management facilities. These experiences show that the technical and managerial challenges of responsible mine waste management is not always fully appreciated. Unfortunately, the image of the mining industry's environmental performance is negatively impacted by a relatively few number of failures. This negative view overrides the many positive contributions made by the majority of mining companies. The fact that these failures continue to occur in developed and developing countries is indeed reĀ¬markable and indicates a degree of risk-taking approaching unacceptable levels. The design requirements for tailings storage facilities are, in many cases, more demanding than those of conventional water dams because seepage of fluids that contain dissolved metals may pose a greater threat than the mere loss of water.
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