The SME Guide to Tailings Resources

Access tailings management case studies, research, technical papers, and industry best practices from around the world.

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A Geostatistical Study Workflow and Software Guide for Tailings Deposit

Estimation of fines and solids content in tailings oil sands deposits is imperative for tailings planning as well as reporting tailings inventory to the regulator. This report reviews the development of a proper procedure for the engineering assessment of uncertainty in reported tailings mass/ volume as a function of data spacing.


A Guide to Audit and Assess Oil Sands Fluid Fine Tailings Performance Management

This document provides oil sands mining operators with guidelines for the audit and assessment process consistent with the requirements set out in the Performance Management documents from COSIA. There is a requirement for a 5-year audit and assessment by an independent team of audit/assessors. Through this process, the audit and assessment team will: 1. Assess the reasonableness of the relevant plans and reports. 2. Provide an opinion as to whether the mine closure plan is realistic and the progressive management of FFT is on track to the desired closure outcome.


A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities (the Tailings Guide)

Quote from main page: A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities (the Tailings Guide) is designed to be applied by MAC members and non-MAC members alike, anywhere in the world. The Tailings Guide, first released in 1998, provides guidance on responsible tailings management, helps companies develop and implement site-specific tailings management systems, and improves consistency of application of engineering and management principles to tailings management.


A Multiple Accounts Analysis for Tailings Site Selection

The Multiple Accounts Analysis (MAA) method presented in this paper provides a sound basis for presenting, discussing and exploring differences of opinion (between stakeholders) in the analysis and decision making for a preferred alternative (e.g. tailings impoundment site) based on an alternatives selection process.

Publication Event

Advances in non-Newtonian dam break studies, Paste 2019: Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings, Paste 2019

Tailings dam failures have and continue to cause large-scale devastation and environmental impacts. Historically these impacts have largely been predicted using Newtonian hydrodynamic modelling principles resulting in a general overestimation of potential consequences. However, since about 2014 the collective mining industry began developing complex tools to better predict the likely impacts of these failures. The industry has focused on leveraging the latest in computational flow dynamics modelling software and computational hardware to preform non-Newtonian tailings dam break assessments. However, as our tools become more sophisticated so does the requirement on input data. This paper discusses the past modelling approaches and the development of non-Newtonian tailings dam break models. The sensitivity of the flow behaviour is presented through four case studies, showing how this selection influences the outcomes and how previous approaches assuming Newtonian characteristics may present an overly conservative result. It is noted that additional knowledge and expertise will become available as non-Newtonian tailings dam break studies become the norm. In the interim, the uncertainty of these analysis needs to be analysed.


Association of State Dam Safety Officials

ASDSO is a national non-profit organization serving state dam safety programs and the broader dam safety community to improve the condition and safety of dams through education and support for state dam safety programs. Largely focused on dams for flood protection, water supply, hydropower, irrigation.


Bulletin 103 - Tailings Dams and Environment - Review and Recommendations (1996)

This bulletin considers the environmental impact assessment that must be made at the planning stage. It also provides consideration of the environmental stability to be achieved during the years of tailings dam construction and the period after completion and rehabilitation.


Bulletin 106 - A Guide to Tailings Dams and Impoundments - Design, Construction, Use and Rehabilitation (1996)

This bulletin discusses common problems in the disposal of tailings at mines, quarries and other industries, and identifies safe methods of designing and operating dams and impoundments. The problems encountered at the end of operations when it becomes desirable to end tailings dam construction and it is necessary to rehabilitate the dam and its impoundment to make it permanently safe and environmentally acceptable are discussed and a final chapter describes some of the governmental regulations controlling tailings dams in some countries.


Bulletin 139 - Improving Tailings Dam Safety - Critical Aspects of Management, Design, Operation and Closure (2011)

In considering the critical aspects required to improve tailings dam safety, the following subjects are addressed in this Bulletin: Corporate and Management Commitment, Education and training of company staff, Critical aspects relating to the design of a tailings dam, Critical aspects to be considered when designing for and implementing the final closure of a tailings dam, Risk management, The essential need for regular external audits and Some notes on the positive role that is played by industry regulators. The conclusion reached in the document is that diligent attention to these critical aspects will result in improved awareness and a lowering of safety incidences for tailings dams.


Bulletin 181 - Tailings Dam Design - Technology Update (2020 pre-print - members only)

This bulletin provides a framework for classifying different types of tailings based on their geotechnical properties and provides typical geotechnical parameters for the different tailings types. It also presents technologies for dewatering tailings from thickening to filtration.

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