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There are many international guidelines, state regulations and technical standards relating to tailings disposal. In addition, the larger mining companies have their own in-house standards and design rules with competent personnel in charge of their operations. Sound embankment design methods can be used by most designers familiar with earth dam design.
The paper gives a listing of many of the current sources of information and guidance available, with some comments by the author on their perceived relevance to the Australian mining industry. Despite the availability of a number of other guidelines at the time, the need for Australian Guidelines was recognised in the mid 1990s and the reasons for the development of the 1999 ANCOLD Tailings Guideline are explained.
Perhaps the best recognition of the need for the original ANCOLD guideline is the degree to which it has been adopted since publishing the 1999 edition. It is in almost universal use in the Australian mining industry and is recognised as providing appropriate and acceptable standards by all state governments. Its use is recognised and sometimes even specified by a number of neighbouring countries and it is also recognised internationally when used by Australian companies with overseas operations.
The reasons for this wide acceptance are described. However, there are some areas where more recent developments have led to the Guidelines becoming dated and improved international guidelines have been published since 1999. The need for a revised ANCOLD guideline and its elevance is then described.
Keywords: Tailings, dams, mining, guidelinesLearn more
Giovanni De Cataldo
The ANCOLD Guidelines on Dam Safety Management August 2003 were formulated to ensure that dam owners adopt a responsible approach towards the safe operation and maintenance of their dams.
Is it possible to safely, responsibly and acceptably work outside the regulatory Guidelines/Requirements?
The challenge for dam owners now and into the future in meeting stringent standards, is to cost effectively manage their assets within available financial constraints whilst minimising risks and maintaining acceptable levels of safety.
With the continuing drought and suppressed storage levels in most dams, the risk to downstream communities and to the environment from dam failure is significantly reduced.
Based on various studies, investigations, internal workshops and external “Expert Panel” reviews, this paper puts forward a case for a sound and responsible risk-based approach to routine visual and surveillance monitoring frequencies at varying storage levels for “Sunny Day” conditions and compares it against traditional ANCOLD standards which are based solely on consequences.
Keywords: State Water Corporation, ANCOLD guidelines, risk-based approach, dam safety, regulator.Learn more