ADMOS 2023

SEC4TD Project To Improve the Safety of Tailings Storage Facilities

  • Bursa, Bartłomiej (GEOTEKO Serwis Ltd.)
  • Stefaniak, Paweł (KGHM Cuprum Ltd. Research & Development Centr)
  • Kakogiannos, Ioannis (Worldsensing SL)
  • Garcia-Mila Vidal, Ignasi (Worldsensing SL)
  • Protasiuk, Rafał (GEOTEKO Serwis Ltd.)

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Tailings storage facilities (TSFs) are structures designed to contain tailings (a by-product of extracting valuable minerals and metals from mined ore) and to manage associated water. Despite all the data collected and a basic understanding of the mechanisms that cause tailings dam failures, these large structures have consistently failed over the past 50 years, causing human and economic losses and huge environmental consequences to ecosystems and local communities. Therefore the day-to-day management of these structures is a very challenging task. One needs to focus not only on keeping the tailings discharge plan but also on the construction (the constantly raised embankments) and the structural safety of the TSFs. The operational controls comprise inspections, surveys, installation of the monitoring instrumentations, interpretation of the monitoring readings, and safety analysis of the structure. The article presents the SEC4TD project as a tool to assist the engineering and management staff in day-to-day operations related to keeping the safety of the facility structure.