Jiri Herza and John Phillips
The design of dams for mining projects requires processes and technology that are unfamiliar to many mine owners and managers. Dam designers rely on ANCOLD assessments of Consequence Category, commonly leading to a High rating for mining dams due to a combination of potential loss of life, impact on environment and damage to assets such as mine voids, process plants, workshops, offices, roads, railways etc.
From this High Consequence Category the relevant annual exceedance probabilities for design parameters and loading conditions such as earthquakes and floods are selected.
Mining companies have sophisticated methods available for assessing risk, yet for their assets they often adopt an order of magnitude lower security for earthquake and floods even though the consequences in terms of lives at risk and impact on project are similar.
The discrepancies in the design standards lead to situations where extreme dam loads are adopted to prevent damage and loss of life in assets that theoretically would have already collapsed under much lower loads.
One difference may be that some mining dams exist in an environment which is controlled by a single entity. Unlike other dams, failure of these mining dams would therefore impact only individuals and assets which fall under the responsibility of the same entity.
This paper discusses the discrepancies between the design of mining dams and the design of other mine infrastructure. The paper considers the impact of discrepancies on the overall risk to the mine and compares the degree of protection offered by a factor of safety and the influence of reliability of design input parameters, alternate load paths and design redundancy.
Keywords: Dams, tailings dams, mining, acceptable risk, factors of safety
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Michael McKay and Francisco Lopez
Mt Bold Dam impounds the largest reservoir in South Australia. The dam wall comprises 19 concrete monoliths, 11 forming a central arch section and 8 forming gravity sections on the left and right abutments. The upstream face of the arch section is vertical, but the top portion overhangs on the reservoir side. The dam was originally constructed in the 1930s, and was raised by 4.3 m in the 1960s. In this upgrade the gravity abutments were raised using mass concrete blocks and the arch non-overflow crest was raised with hollow, reinforced concrete portals. On the spillway section a pier and gate system was installed on top of a hollow ogee section. The maximum height of the dam in its current configuration is 58 m.
GHD has been conducting a staged safety review of Mt Bold Dam since 2011. This included a detailed finite element nonlinear, time-history seismic analysis of the dam-foundation-reservoir system. The analysis was carried out using finite element techniques and included a detailed 3D model of all major components of the dam and different domains of the foundation rock. The nonlinearity of the model was included by explicitly incorporating contact elements at the dam-foundation interface, at the monolith contraction joints, and at some identified unbonded horizontal concrete lift joints within the dam wall. The seismic analysis was conducted for three different accelerograms corresponding to Maximum Design Earthquakes (MDEs) with 1 in 10,000 Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP).
This paper explains the purpose of the study, the adopted methodology and material properties, the results of the modelling phases, and the anticipated seismic behaviour and damage on the main components of the dam resulting from the MDEs. Finally, a conclusion is made in regards to whether or not Mt Bold Dam passes the adopted performance criteria for seismic loading.
Keywords: Arch, gravity, seismic, nonlinear, damage prediction.
Aida Baharestani, Dominic Kerr
North East Water (NEW) manages two reservoirs in series on Bakers Gully Creek, approximately 1.5km south of Bright in north-east Victoria. Both dams were constructed more than 100 years ago and taken out of service in the 1970s.
The Bakers Gully dams had an unacceptable risk profile according to ANCOLD’s Limit of Tolerability.
As the dams are out of service and have no operational benefit, NEW made the decision to partially decommission the dams.
The objective of the work was to lower the consequence categories of the dams from “High C” to “Low” and increase the spillway capacities according to ANCOLD Guidelines and ultimately reduce the dam safety risks to an acceptable level.
This paper describes the different stages of the project ranging from concept design, community engagement, environmental assessment and detailed design. In particular the paper explores the complexities of balancing in cost and public safety with community and ecological values.
Keywords: Dam decommissioning, Community engagement, Severity of damage and loss
A. Scuero, G. Vaschetti, J. Cowland, B. Cai , L. Xuan
Nam Ou VI rockfill dam is part of the Nam Ou VI Hydropower Project under construction in Laos. The scheme includes an 88 metres high rockfill dam, designed as a Geomembrane Face Rockfill Dam (GFRD), which when completed will be the highest GFRD in Laos. The only element providing watertightness to the dam is an exposed composite PVC geomembrane, installed according to an innovative design now being increasingly adopted to construct safe rockfill dams at lower costs. The same system will shortly be installed on a water retaining embankment for a coal mine in NSW, Australia, and has been approved for a tailings dam in Queensland, Australia. At Nam Ou VI the geomembrane system is being installed in three separate stages, following construction of the dam. The first two stages have been completed, and the last stage will start in November 2015. The paper, after a brief discussion of the adopted system’s concept, advantages and precedents, focuses on the construction aspects.
Keywords: GFRD, PVC geomembrane, waterproofing, rockfill dam.
David Stewart, Shane McGrath & Siraj Perera
Dam safety in Victoria is overseen by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on behalf of the relevant Minister and under the Water Act. For each of the 19 state-owned Water Corporations, Government has issued a Statement of Obligations which describes all responsibilities of the Corporation, including specific reference to dam safety management and ANCOLD Guidelines.
These Corporations report annually to the Department on their compliance with all their obligations, including dam safety management. In late 2014, 13 Water Corporations along with the Department commissioned a comparative benchmarking study of dam safety management practices across the state. This work was facilitated by the VicWater Dams Industry Working Group. The study used a rapid assessment method against 14 separate criteria for dam safety management, based on the Statements of Obligations, guidance notes developed by the Department, ANCOLD Guidelines, the ICOLD Draft Bulletin on Dam Safety Management, good governance principles and examples of best practice from other jurisdictions.
The study involved assessment of background data, site inspections and discussions with various individuals of each owner, including a range of field staff, dam safety staff, Executive Managers, Managing Directors and Board Directors. The benchmarking study covered 142 dams of Significant, High and Extreme Consequence Category throughout Victoria.
The results of the benchmarking study have been extremely useful for individual dam owners and for the Department to understand areas where good practice is in place and also where there is potential for improvement of individual programs. The study also provides a measure of assurance of the current status of dam safety management practices and areas where regulatory practices could be better focused. It also reinforced the importance of strong industry networks such as ANCOLD and VicWater for knowledge transfer, capacity development and sustainability of dam safety management practices.
This paper presents the methodology used for the benchmarking study and its broader findings. It also highlights good practice considerations for dam owners, regulators and other dam safety practitioners.
Keywords: Dam Safety Management, Governance, Benchmarking
This paper explores the role of the Lenders’ Technical Advisor (LTA) in identifying and mitigating risks in hydropower dam projects on behalf of the project lenders. It describes the LTA services that are required to manage the pre-financial close, construction and financing periods.
There are differing types of risk in both large and small hydropower projects (contractual, commercial, participant, completion, country, technology, reputational, environmental and social, etc.) and these are discussed with regard to how the lenders may be exposed if the risk eventuates either during dam construction or in operation.
Whereas a large dam for water supply would in its own right be a major project, the dam(s) associated with large hydropower will likely represent less than 25% of the total project cost and with this imbalance comes competing drivers for the other components (tunnels, waterways, powerhouse, M&E equipment, transmission lines, substations, etc).
The paper discusses the typical process whereby a hydropower developer has procured a feasibility study and is working towards financial close — covering both large and small types, i.e. storage dams and run-of-river diversion weir types, and the noticeable trend for fast-tracked developments to make a single large step from feasibility study through to engineer-procure-construct (EPC) contracting. This scenario presents some challenges for the initial due diligence when assessing in the pre-financial close stage.
The paper draws on case studies from the Asia Pacific region to illustrate the key elements in hydropower project financing from the LTA’s perspective, together with the author’s recent and current experience on multiple hydropower projects across Asia and Africa in the run-of-river, storage reservoir and pumped storage type of plants. It also brings together findings from the author’s own recent papers on the subjects of hydropower feasibility studies, the roles of lenders, owners and advisors, and tailored for an ANCOLD audience where the focus is on the dams component of hydropower.
Keywords: Lenders’ Technical Advisor, Dams, Hydropower.