Michael Ashley, John Phillips
New guidance and publications relating to tailings dams have been released recently by many jurisdictions across the world as an initial response to recent, well-documented, catastrophic tailings dam failures. The application of new guidelines retrospectively to existing tailings projects can introduce complex challenges, especially for sites with a long and often not well documented history. Challenges can be difficult to overcome while balancing time, cost and risk objectives.
This paper explores the impacts of changes between the 2012 and 2019 revisions of the ANCOLD Guidelines on Tailings Dams and potential implications for existing facilities.
The most significant update between the 2012 and 2019 revisions of the guidelines relating to design practices is the additional detail and guidance on seismic stability analyses and static liquefaction. Guidance on the application of new guidelines for tailings dam designers, owners and regulators is required to provide a consistent approach to manage the risk.
— OR —
Andrew Northfield, Peter Hill, Muhammad Hameed, Hench Wang, Sam Banzi
In 2018 WaterNSW undertook a Portfolio Risk Assessment (PRA) for 20 dams across the greater Sydney area.
This paper describes the estimation of consequences for this large and diverse portfolio of dams. For some dams the population at risk were greater than 100,000 people whereas for others there were no permanent PAR which required the careful consideration of itinerants. This diversity of the dams required that the approach for estimating the consequences be tailored to the specific characteristics. For example, the approaches for estimating the potential loss of life (PLL) varied from a detailed simulation model (HECLifeSim) to a simpler empirical approach (Reclamation Consequence Estimation Methodology (USBR, 2014) to bespoke consideration of itinerant campers and users of walking tracks. For some dams the economic costs were driven by direct infrastructure costs whereas for other the indirect costs dominated the total economic cost for failure.
Gideon Steyl, Ralph Holding, Lis Boczek
A Monte Carlo method for assessing liner systems is applied with outcomes demonstrating the range of discharge that could occur over the liner interface. The Monte Carlo approach allows for variation of fill material over the liner system and includes the assessment of a second compacted zone either above or below the liner zone. In this paper clay liners were evaluated due to regulatory guidelines and it could be demonstrated that similar performance to a 1 m clay liner could be attained using compacted material to reduce discharge over the liner interface. The approach applied in this paper allows for at least a worst-case quantification of seepage risk which could be included in liner selection criteria or presenting liner options to regulators.
Hench Wang, Peter Hill, Sam Banzi, Muhammad Hameed
Dam owners can often struggle to demonstrate the dam safety risk benefits that can be achieved through non-structural risk reduction measures, such as adoption of smart technological solutions that improve the timeliness and quality of decision making. WaterNSW collaborated with HARC to develop a novel way of demonstrating benefits from improved data management. This paper discusses the use of HEC-LifeSim to demonstrate the reduction in life safety risk from improved monitoring through DamGuard for a case study dam in Sydney. DamGuard is a real-time dam safety monitoring system implemented by WaterNSW. This case study was the first time in Australia where a simulation model such as HEC-LifeSim was applied to quantify the life safety risk benefits pre and post the implementation of DamGuard. The implementation of DamGuard to the sample dam was estimated to reduce the life safety risk by 15%.
Shane McGrath, Mark Arnold, Josh Rankin, Gavan Hunter
Greenvale Dam is a critical storage for the supply of potable water to Melbourne. The dam had been upgraded through current risk management techniques, and an ALARP assessment completed at that time. However, it was decided that a more comprehensive demonstration of ALARP was warranted to satisfy the dam owner’s duty of care. Since there is no comprehensive guidance in the dams industry for owners and their advisors to reference, the safety case approach used extensively in other hazardous industries was adopted. Considering the approaches used by Victoria’s Worksafe, the Institution of Engineers Australia and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the key components of the safety case for Greenvale dam were identified then developed to provide a logical, structured and comprehensive argument for the safety of Greenvale Dam. This paper provides an overview of components of the safety case developed for Greenvale Dam, the use of safety cases for dams and where process improvements could be made.
Ryan Singh, Jiri Herza, James Thorp
Recent and continual failures of tailings storage facilities (TSFs), often resulting in catastrophic consequences, has led to calls for action from the industry, stakeholders and the public at large. Several standards and guidelines are being prepared at the time of writing, most notably a Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), with the overall objective to reduce the rate of TSF failures globally. While better guidelines are certainly necessary, there are requirements that must be carefully followed in developing a document that has the ambition to become a standard. If such requirements are not fulfilled, the document can become ineffective or potentially have the opposite result to that which was intended. This paper discusses whether or not the GISTM meets the requirements of the standards and analyses the potentially negative impacts of its implementation on the industry and wider society. Based on this analysis, this paper provides several recommendations for improvements that should be considered by the GISTM panel and other working groups preparing standards and guidelines.