Preventing tailings dam failures: Predicting liquefaction risk at different ages and states through physical modelling, experimental analysis, field testing and real-time data collection
Project Number: P1288
Status: Open to sponsors
Amira Program Manager: Silvia Black
This project will undertake new research and facilitate knowledge transfer and training activities to help the mining industry prevent failures of tailings storage facilities (TSFs). Particular attention will be given to methods and tools used to assess liquefaction susceptibility as well as the reductions in strengths and stabilities of TSFs post-liquefaction. The research will target poorly understood characteristics of TSFs including:
- varying states of saturation
- high concentrations of fine particles
- physical changes with age which occur through internal mechanical and geochemical processes
- and how they can be dealt with in assessments of liquefaction propensity.
- comprehensive characterisation of their tailings, receiving direct evidence-based guidelines for CPT interpretation and identification of liquefaction risk
- designing and participating in workshops on assessing liquefaction risk of mine tailings and embankments in partnership with Amira, other sponsors, industry organisations and collaborating universities
- a written monograph for use by industry sponsors, affiliates, and the wider industry. It will describe essential laboratory tests, recommended cone penetration test (CTP) protocols, remote and in situ data collection, and appropriate methods of interpretation of resulting data to assess liquefaction susceptibility and strength.
Sponsors will gain additional value by putting the new knowledge into practice with their TSFs during the project. This may involve:
- reinterpretations of CPT data and reassessments of strengths and stabilities as research progresses
- installation of additional instruments to detect certain physical properties important to stability and safety assessments that may have been overlooked or unattainable previously
- training in conducting new characterisations and strength determinations with laboratory equipment.
Sponsors who provide tailings and TSF data may arrange for a university student local to the TSF to join the research team.
The project is currently seeking expressions of interest from sponsors. Please contact Silvia Black at email@example.com for more information.