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We have just finished the InfoMine Conference on geosynthetics in mining.  I think it was a success although I had better await the evaluation forms before coming to definitive conclusions. The proceedings will be available through the InfoMine e-Store at this link.  In my opinion, this is a magnificent collection of papers on a topic that has long cried for detailed, focussed attention. For the use of geosynthetics in mining is different to the use of geosynthetics in landfills and other civil engineering application.  The mining projects that involve the use of geosynthetics are orders of magnitude larger than any other category of projects.  The challenges are greater: there are few precedents; there are no substantive regulations; and the consequences of use and misuse are greater. (more…)

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The numbers just do not add up. As I read the many sites on the web, I learn that British Columbia has about thirty operating mines. The BC government has about $172 million in closure bonds. Say about five or six million a mine. That seems grossly inadequate to me. I have just finished estimating closure of one mine and it came to nearly $60 million. Does this mean BC should have $1.7 billion in closure bonds? Here are some observations from various websites that may help you ponder this issue. (more…)

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I have lost count of the number of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines that have contacted me asking for opinions on the Mt Polley tailings happenings.  Somehow the email from Adrian Lee of that most reputable of Canadian magazine, McLeans, had a air of intelligence the pulled me into replying.  (I confess to being a regular reader of McLeans.) (more…)

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Here are the stories of the seven dam failures that have occurred since the beginning of 2012. Six are failures of tailings facilities. The seventh is a rockfill dam. The following are extracts from technical papers that I wrote well before the Mt Polley failure. Details of the first three are available at this link. Details of the remaining four are in a paper that I will present at the Tailings and Mine Waste 2014 conference in Colorado in October of this year. (more…)

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So the legal trials and travails begin.  Here is the first announcement:

LONDON, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Siskinds LLP today announced the commencement of an investor class action against Imperial Metals Corporation (“Imperial”) (TSX:III) and certain of its directors, officers and related parties. The action relates to the circumstances surrounding the failure of the tailings facilities at Imperial’s Mount Polley gold and copper mine near Likely, British Columbia on August 4, 2014.  The action is brought to recover losses suffered by persons who acquired common shares or notes of Imperial between August 15, 2011 and August 4, 2014.

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In one of the many article I read on the Mt Polley tailings failure was an estimate of what it will cost to get the mine going again.   A figure of $50 million was quoted as the cost to pick up all the tailings and return them to the tailings facility.  I imagine that figure is based on five million cubic meters of tailings at about $10 a cubic meter to pick up.  Here is why I suspect the figure is grossly low. (more…)

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Today we have read all we can find on the failure of the Mt Polley tailings facility.  It is all distressing.  And mostly misleading.  Here are a few clear thoughts on the topic. (more…)

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