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Elaine Pang, Robert Fowden
There are numerous established methods available for assessing the consequences of failure for earthen water dams.The estimation of breach dimensions and failure times remains the greatest common area of uncertainty, particularly for dams under 10m in height, where the number of historic records behind the established methods reduces considerably.Also, various factors can have a significant impact on the strength of small dam embankments, potentially contributing to the likelihood of failure.Consequently, failure impact assessments for smaller dams may rely more heavily on the engineering judgement of the responsible engineer. Although the consequences of failure may indeed be lower for smaller dams, the large number of unknown or unregulated dams in some locations means that it can be difficult to quantify their overall contribution in terms of dam safety risk. This paper presents an on-going project to compile and analyse observed small earthen dam failures with the intent of refining existing statistical breach relationships for smaller dams.Context is provided through an overview of DEWS’ investigative program, including the presentation of several case studies which highlight field data collected throughout the program.Learn more
ANCOLD published its first Guidelines for Design of Dams for Earthquake in 1998. The Guidelines were prepared to bring together knowledge about earthquakes in Australia following the devastating
Newcastle (1989 magnitude Mw 5.4) and the Tennant Creek (1988 magnitude Mw 6.6) earthquakes, and improved analytical methods to predict the behaviour of dams subject to earthquake.
When the 1998 Guidelines were issued, it was recognised that over time there would be improved data and tools to help the designer. This has indeed been the case and ANCOLD decided that it would be timely to update its Guidelines to incorporate the significant advances made in the understanding of earthquakes, seismic hazard assessments, analysis and design.
The Working Group convened to produce these updated Guidelines, replacing the 1998 Guidelines, was composed of representatives from dam owners, State dam safety regulatory agencies and private consulting practices. The draft Guidelines were made available for comment by ANCOLD members and international review of the Guidelines was undertaken by eminent practitioners in the subject matter from the United States, New Zealand and Switzerland.
Because of the seismic hazard uncertainty and the associated structural response, these Guidelines
encourage the use of risk-based methods for assessing existing dams and for the design of new dams. However, the deterministic approach is also covered for those owners who prefer to use it.
This guideline is the culmination of a great deal of voluntary work by convenor, Mr Steve O’Brien and his working group. It is a significant development for dam engineering in Australia and will be a valuable resource.
As with all ANCOLD Guidelines, this guideline is not a design code or standard and has been produced for the guidance of experienced practitioners who are required to apply their own professional skill and judgement in its application. Users must keep abreast of developments in the design of dams and appurtenant structures for earthquake and take those developments into account when using these Guidelines.
The Guidelines will again be reviewed when knowledge and practice have developed to a point when an update is required. Accordingly, ANCOLD welcomes comments from users and other interested parties.
Shane McGrathLearn more
Chairman of ANCOLD Inc.
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
David Brett, Bruce Brown, Imran Gillani, David Williams
This paper reports the direction of a current review of the 1999 ANCOLD Guidelines on Design, Construction and Operation of Tailings Dams. A sub-committee has been formed and has determined that the majority of the current guidelines need only minor editing but that additional attention is required to the concepts of risk and design for closure.
Major mining companies recognise that effective operation and closure of their tailings facilities are fundamental to their continued business from financial and political aspects. Risk needs to be managed throughout the life cycle of a TSF through planning, design, operation, closure and post-closure. Various methods are used to assess the “consequence category” of a TSF. This then determines design and operational criteria. Risks are identified and controls developed to limit these to acceptable levels.
The involvement in the sub-committee of representatives of the mining industry gives an industry perspective to this issue. This includes determination of acceptable risk levels and how to manage operations to achieve them.
The current ANCOLD Guidelines are very limited in terms of guidance for closure and possible abandonment of TSFs. However this area is perhaps the most critical from an economic and environmental perspective. The issues to be faced at closure and post-closure should be considered at the planning and design phases. The paper outlines some of the post closure cases that might need to be considered in design.
Keywords: guidelines, tailings dams, ANCOLDLearn more