Archive for the ‘Tailings’ Category


This year I have visited at least sixteen tailings facilities from the far north of Canada to the far south of Chile.  Mainly I was there to see about the state, safety, and ongoing operation of the facilities.  But along the way I had an incredible opportunity to observe and photograph mine water management facilities and systems.

In next week’s EduMine webcast on Mine Water Management, I will have a chance to distill these many observations into a coherent whole.  So come join us in the webcast next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  But three hours a day each morning and I will update you on the many systems, practices, components, and ideas I have gleaned from these trips and observations.  Many new case histories courtesy of the mines I visited.

If you register for this webcast you will also get a month or more of free access to all the other EduMine on-line courses.  The ones I wrote on Surface Water Management for Mines, Groundwater Management for Mines, Introduction to Groundwater Modeling for Mines, and Mine Water Balances are included.  Indeed they support the live webcast and expand on what we will talk about.

We already have nearly twenty-five attendees, so there should be much discussion and interaction that you can join.  We look forward to your participation and contributions.

On the topic of mine water management, keep in mind also that next year is the second conference organized by InfoMine on Mine Water Solutions in Extreme Environments.  Last year’s conference in Lima was a great success and we anticipate the same for next year in Vancouver.

I am yet to get down to submitting my abstracts for papers, even though the deadline is past.  I will just have to pull strings and rely on goodwill. I am sure you too can do the same if you have an incipient paper not yet abstracted and submitted.

All this just reminds us that at mines it all about water.  Too much water.   Too little water. Clean water and contaminated water.  Costs of treating and managing.   Yet many mines are doing it successfully.  I am not privy to all the secrets of their success, yet I have seen enough to discern what works and what does not work.  Maybe I can share these insights with you.  So please join in the webcast or submit a paper to the conference and of course please come to the conference that will I am sure add more to whatever I talk and write about.


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At this link is an announcement that the BC regulators are seeking proposals from consultants to help them evaluate the independent dam safety analyses they have ordered be done by independent folk on all the tailings facilities in BC. Dam Safety Inspection Review is the heading.  Here is the full announcement — it is fascinating for what it tells and what it does not tell. (more…)

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Just home from a four-week journey that took me to  Peru, Chile, Keystone CO, Banff, and Ekati NWT.  It is good to be back in the house where you can throw off the formalities of travel, eat simple food, and get drunk in private. They say that Peruvian food is the best in the world.  Indeed it is if you are in a fancy, expensive place in Lima.  But go to a mine and eat what the miners eat, and it is terrible beyond belief.  Rice & beans and other unrecognizable substances of gooey texture.  I lost weight.  Maybe it was the altitude = 14,500 ft.  You walk slow and breathe deep in those conditions. (more…)

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The final keynote speech at the conference on Tailings and Mine Waste was from Craig Benson. He talked about mine waste facility covers.   He has promised me a pdf of his talk. But in the meantime there are many documents by him and his coworkers readily available on the web that deal with much the same material as was in his presentation. (more…)

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Today’s keynote address was by Tamara Johndrow of Freeport-McMoRan Mining Company. Her topic was FCX Tailings Stewardship Program. Let me note what I recall of her talk. Tamara heads a group of about ten engineers.  Their task is to look after, or steward, all of Freeport-McMoRan’s tailings facilities.  If I recall correctly that includes 18 operating facilities and over fifty closed facilities.  That is a large portfolio. They have a single objective:  NO FAILURES. (more…)

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The first day of presentations at the Tailings and Mine Waste 2014 Conference.  Gordon McPhail delivered a talk in honor of Geoff Blight, who passed away earlier this year.  Geoff made so many contributions to tailings that we were talking for at least an hour about him and his genius.  I honor him here in the only way I know:  record my opinion that he was one of the great of tailings. (more…)

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A beautiful sunny day in Keystone in the Colorado Rockies and the first day of the conference on Tailings and Mine Waste 2014.  Today was short-course Sunday.  With Franco Oboni and Cesar Oboni of Riskope, I presented a one-day course on Risk Assessment and Decision Making for Tailings Facilities. (more…)

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