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We are heartened by today’s announcements re the Mt Polley tailings facility failure.   I particular we applaud the choice of experts retained to do the engineering review. Continue Reading »

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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.) Continue Reading »

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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. Continue Reading »

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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.

Continue Reading »

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The Vancouver Sun reports as follows about the Mt Polley tailings failure:

Likely resident Gerald MacBurney worked at Mount Polley for seven years, the last two he says as a foreman directing work on the tailings dam.

He says AMEC instructed the company to bring in five million tonnes of rock to shore up the outside of the dam in order to handle the increased amount of water in the tailings pond.

He said the company never carried through, perhaps only bringing in one million tonnes of rock.

That’s because they didn’t want to take their large equipment — big haul trucks that can carry as much as 120 to 200 tonnes — away from delivering ore to the mill, according to MacBurney.

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The official statements are now beginning to appear re Mt Polley.  Here are two.  First from the Mining Association of Canada. Continue Reading »

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Standard accident theory tells us that an accident occurs when many small incidents or omissions line up.  It is like a pile of Swiss cheese with hole in it: inevitably a pile of cheese with hole in it will result where holes line up and you could poke a knitting needle through the holes without penetrating the cheese. This theory explains what happened at Mt Polley.  Many tiny acts and omissions lined up—and we see now the results. Continue Reading »

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