Across the years, Tailings Storage Facilities have moved from being the unwelcome distraction of a successful mining project to a front of mind concern for boards, managers and stakeholders – one that acutely focuses issues of safety, environmental responsibility, community relationships and licence to operate.
In this special report on Tailings Storage Facilities, Mining with Seequent looks at the seven key obstacles to success in running a TSF, and how to overcome them.
We talk to experts about the best ways to plan for closure. We analyse how the technologies available can support everyone involved in a TSF, from board to engineers to local communities. And we look at the potential that ‘Digital Twin’ modelling offers to spot failure early and mitigate the risks that can run into tens of millions of dollars.
”TSF ‘risk' impacts an unusually broad spectrum of stakeholders - mine owners, workers, local communities, regulators, shareholders, environmental bodies, as well as other residents and businesses in the immediate area. That means open, transparent and continuous stakeholder engagement and involvement should be at the core of every viable TSF strategy.Colin HayExecutive Vice President, EMEA, Seequent
”A truly collaborative environment that empowers clear communication across even remote teams is the secret to making decisions that change the future for the better. Fully integrated, auditable workflows allow each individual to see how decisions were made and why, and what needs to be determined next. I really believe the Seequent Solution helps that happen.Jennifer BiddlecombeSenior Account Executive, Seequent
”At the core of a safe TSF lies a comprehensive 4D model of the physical environment – a digital twin. When a fully up to date model is maintained by a transparent flow of multi-disciplinary data and intellectual information, all stakeholders are able to make robust decisions effectively and collaboratively.Janina ElliottTechnical Lead, Seequent Central, Seequent
”Several types of technologies are used in the control and management of tailings dams currently. We’re mainly talking about monitoring instruments, which can be extremely useful. However, we still need to understand how all this information works in an integrated and visual way, and this is vital in facilitating the interpretation of results and decision making with greater security.Vinicius FigueiredoProject Geologist, Seequent
”A robust chain of custody is imperative for a TSF’s Engineer of Record, particularly when stakeholders include external consultants. It helps communicate an integrated knowledge base with all stakeholders; provides justification for decisions made and actions taken; and supports the aim of ensuring zero harm to human or environment.Sophie TieEngineering Geologist
”Safe management of tailings facilities requires a transparent and dynamic process that enables the evolution of the facility’s performance to be documented throughout the entire life cycle. An understanding of a TSF must evolve with as-built performance, which is evaluated through ongoing monitoring, site characterization, and geotechnical analyses.Chris KellnDirector, Engineering, Seequent
”Sound environmental management of tailings storage facilities requires good planning plus on-going, regular and diligent monitoring and analysis. And all of this must shared in an appropriate and transparent fashion with stakeholders. Environmental performance ought to be compared to plans and best practice. Furthermore, robust, accessible and transparent recording keeping must be in place.Dr. Thomas D KromSegment Director, Environment, Seequent