Public Guidelines and Tailings Dam Stewardship

2019

David Bleiker, Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions

Public and regulatory dam safety guidelines such as CDA’s Mining Dams Bulletin which addresses mining dams within the CDA dam safety guidelines generally do not address owners’ risks.  For example the CDA’s Mining Dams Bulletin acknowledges potential impacts to owners are not fully considered and additional effort may be required to steward dams with respect to the owner’s interests.  Potential consequences to the owner can be extensive and include damage to owner’s property, lost production and reputational damage.  Consideration of owners’ risks not addressed in the public safety considerations of industry guidelines, may result in owners choosing a higher level of stewardship than proposed the CDA guidelines.  Adapting the CDA guidelines to add additional owner specific categories for the dam classification is one approach.  In some cases, the owner may want to use alternative risk assessment tools to consider the potential impacts of an event on their assets at a regional scale and establish design criteria on that basis. When considering potential impacts to owners, the potential of regional events such as meteorological and seismic events to affect the owner’s assets on a site wide or regional scale should also be considered.   The proposed paper will discuss potential owners’ risks and methods owners’ can consider to evaluate them.
Keywords: Dam Safety, stewardship, tailings, water, failure, impacts,
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