Adrian Russell | University of New South Wales
Theme: Avoiding catastrophic failure through monitoring and containment
Project title: Preventing tailings dam failures: Predicting liquefaction risk at different ages and states
- UNSW Sydney
- Experts in geotechnical, mining, resources and materials engineering
- Drawing on Australia’s widest range of research expertise, laboratory facilities and industry interactions, and international collaborations
Offering to sponsors:
The proposal offers:
- Comprehensive characterization of their tailings, receiving direct evidence-based guidelines for CPT interpretation and identification of liquefaction risk (removal of uncertainty)
- Access to training and education workshops, and opportunities to identify training needs and knowledge gaps relevant to their operations
- Interaction with collaborators and a broad international project team
- Lead industry in supporting research, knowledge creation and dissemination initiatives that will benefit many and target a pressing problem.
This proposal will improve tailings storage through updated industry guidelines for the design and management of tailing storage facilities.
Tailings are stored on sites contained by embankments made from soil or a coarse component of tailings. In Australia, tailings storage facilities comprise large sections which are partially saturated and aged, and have characteristics which are poorly understood, especially their ability to resist earthquakes and their strength reductions post-earthquake. This, and the large volume of tailings being stored, and the requirement that the tailings storage facilities must remain safe for 10,000 years, imposes a huge liability on the mining industry.
The proposal outcome will be updated guidelines for the construction and management of tailings storage facilities, leading to improved safety and reduced risk to people, property and the environment.
Benefit to industry:
- reducing tailing storage facilities failures and financial risk
- helping to maintain social trust and licence to operate
- reduce environmental devastation
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