B. Ghahreman Nejad, H. Taiebat, M. Dillon and K. Seddon
One of the causes of tailings dam failure has been seismically induced liquefaction during earthquakes. Liquefaction, if mobilised, significantly reduces the stiffness and strength of affected soils in the embankment dam or its foundation and may lead to large deformations and dam failure. This paper reports the results of seismic liquefaction assessment and deformation analyses of Bobadil tailings dam located in Tasmania. The tailings dam consists of a perimeter rockfill starter dam which has been raised in stages using the “upstream” construction method. The embankment raises (formed by clay or coarse tailings) are constructed over a foundation of previously deposited tailings in the impoundment which is potentially susceptible to liquefaction. Extensive field and laboratory tests were carried out to assess the tailings liquefaction potential and also to determine the material properties required for seismic stability and deformation analyses. Numerical modelling of seismic liquefaction and deformation analyses were carried out to predict the magnitude and pattern of deformations that may lead to uncontrolled release of tailings. The results of these analyses are presented and compared with literature report of those observed during past earthquakes.
2011 – Numerical Modelling of Seismic Liquefaction for Bobadil Tailings Dam
Dan Forster, Murray Gillon
A robust and defensible dam surveillance process is considered to be the ‘front-line of defence’ in ensuring dams do not present an unacceptable risk to people, property and the environment. The concept of a ‘Quality Chain of Dam Surveillance’ describes the surveillance process as a multi-linked chain where each step in the process forms a critical link. Without rigorous attention given to quality assurance links in the chain can become tenuous or broken and thus compromise the integrity of the whole chain. Hydro Tasmania is currently re-engineering its existing surveillance process using the Quality Chain of Dam Surveillance as a basis.
This paper presents the concept of the quality chain and uses the Hydro Tasmania improvement initiative as an example application of the concept. The paper is intended to provide a fresh perspective on what is sometimes considered a stale topic and reinforces the need for a considered approach to dam surveillance.
2011 – The Quality Chain of Dam Surveillance
Bruce Brown, Mark Coghill
Tailings management practices have evolved significantly over the last 30 to 40 years with emphasis on long term geotechnical and geochemical stability to meet community expectations and company liabilities. The main drivers have been environmental protection both during operations and post closure, public safety and water conservation. Mining companies have become aware of the significant risks resulting from the operation of tailings facilities with a number of high profile failures occurring in recent times. The common practice of building a containment structure and depositing tailings as unthickened slurry is being challenged and tested against alternative tailings treatment technologies. These include high rate thickening, paste thickening and filtration. The potential benefits of these technologies include significant reduction in process water losses, reduced design duties for the confinement structures and improved conditions for closure. Notwithstanding these potential benefits, very few facilities have implemented the new technologies due to economic constraints imposed by the evaluation methods used by the mining industry. This paper summarises the available tailings treatment technologies and the resulting implications for tailings facility design. It reviews the benefits and critiques the economic evaluation method currently in use and recommends that the industry changes its evaluation methodology to drive future trends.
Tailings Storage, Current and Future Trends
The enlargement of the Cotter Dam is being undertaken by ACTEW to provide a greater security of water supply to Canberra. The project involves constructing a larger, higher new dam wall immediately downstream of the existing Cotter Dam, to allow the present dam to continue functioning and supplying water while construction is underway. The project raised a number of environmental issues partly because the Cotter Dam currently supports a self-sustaining population of (endangered) Macquarie Perch, and because the Bendora Dam, upstream of Cotter Dam, contains a breeding population of (endangered) Trout Cod. Bendora Dam will not be physically affected by the works on Cotter Dam, but its operations may be altered. An ecological risk analysis was conducted to identify critical environmental risks that would need to be investigated and managed or ameliorated and management strategies were put in place to reduce risks. ACTEW have adopted an adaptive management approach to the project, but in order to implement that approach it is necessary to conduct effective monitoring of the fish populations of concern. These potentially include the two endangered species, as well as potential predators (such as cormorants) and competitors (such as trout). Power analysis has been used as a tool to evaluate whether it is feasible to monitor key populations sufficiently rigorously to be able to confidently detect a change (either an increase or decrease in a population). For Macquarie Perch and trout it should be possible to detect population changes statistically with a logistically feasible monitoring program.
2011 – Using risk analysis, power analysis and adaptive management to minimise ecological impacts of the Cotter Dam enlargement
The application of maintenance to mechanical assets is a mature and well understood discipline. Although techniques and methods differ from industry to industry, the experiences and knowledge of practitioners should be transferable, but are they?
A challenge faced by all engineers is finding the appropriate balance between obtaining detailed physical evidence of asset condition through invasive disassembly and inspection against assessing condition based on monitoring and past performance.
This paper describes the experiences of the author in applying mechanical maintenance skills in the dams environment and shares some important lessons learned along the way.
2011 – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it – or should you? Lessons learned from relying on past performance of mechanical assets.
Rob Campbell, Tom Kolbe, Ron Fleming, Christopher Dann
Hinze Dam is an Extreme hazard category water supply dam situated in the Queensland Gold Coast hinterland, owned and operated by Seqwater (formerly owned by Gold Coast City Council). The Hinze Dam Stage 3 works involved raising the previously 65m high central core earth and rockfill embankment approximately 15m to a maximum height of approximately 80m.
The Stage 3 works included a program of foundation curtain grouting, consisting of six discrete grout panels, five of those beneath areas where the embankment was extended and one beneath part of the spillway enhancement works. Five of the six grout panels were essentially single row panels, with one or more partial rows added in specific areas of high grout take. The remaining grout panel (Panel 4) was constructed as a triple row panel.
A number of challenges were encountered and overcome during the Stage 3 foundation grouting works due to highly variable foundation conditions, ranging from extremely low strength residual soil to highly fractured and permeable high strength rock.
The grouting works were undertaken using downstage grouting techniques, with manual recording of data, manual control of grout pressures and injection rates and use of predominantly neat cement grout mixes.
A key issue in the execution of the foundation grouting works was the maximum grout pressures applied to the foundation and this was discussed in detail between the project design team and external review panel. This paper presents the results from project specific grout trials and production grouting to demonstrate that closure of the foundation was consistently achieved (with one exception discussed herein), which supports the grouting approach employed and the adopted grout pressures.
This paper presents a case study description of the Stage 3 foundation curtain grouting works, including a summary of key learnings which may be of benefit to future dam foundation curtain grouting projects.