“Tailings Dam Breach Analysis: A Review of Methods, Practices, and Uncertainties,”a paper co-authored by Golder’s Alexandra Halliday, Alfredo Arenas and Hua Zhang has been published in Mine Water and the Environment, a Journal of the International Mine Water Association (IMWA).
Alexandra Halliday, a geotechnical engineer with Golder, explains, “We prepared this paper because — as practitioners in the field — we saw the critical need for industry improvement. We hope that by sharing this information other practitioners can adopt this paper, build on it and we can develop and improve the field together.”
In their research, the authors summarize the available literature and methods for undertaking tailings dam breach assessments (TDBAs). With this information as a foundation, they present a methodological approach that can be adopted to conduct a TDBA and offer a critique of the various methods available for estimating key factors such as volume estimations, breach hydrographs and flood routing software. The authors also evaluate the uncertainties in undertaking a TDBA and the potential impacts on the modelling results.
Halliday adds: “What we realized with the research is that there are a million different ways that you can justify that your assessment is right, and we hope that this paper can be used so people can adopt site specific inputs, and really consider what’s specific to the facility that they are analyzing. Using the correct background data and empirical methods to estimate their volume release, estimate their breach formation, and really making sure it’s specific to the facility that you’re working on.”
Go here to access the journal paper