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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. Continue Reading »

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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. Continue Reading »

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A simple cover for a tailings facility may be no more than a layer of compacted tailings overlain by soil in which vegetation can grow. If control of infiltration is not required, this cover may be cost effective.   If the climate of the site is good, the layer of soil thick, and the vegetation abundant, you may have an evapotranspirative cover that limits infiltration. Continue Reading »

No posts the past few days. I have been travelling in Peru and Chile to remote mines where we work long hours and have intermittent email & internet connections. It has been fun and instructive: to examine the problems that arise on mines far from the center and focus; to see how local consultants devise solutions in climates that differ from those I am used to; and to examine alternative ways of constructing tailings impoundments.  I cannot write of what I have done, for it is all client confidential, so instead here are a few photos take at random along the way. Enjoy.

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Foto: Peter Öhman

The translation above the pictures reads:

It doesn’t matter that it is Sweden’s most modern mine, built according to environmental laws, which the Government says is the world’s strongest. In addition, Northlands mine outside Pajala is a financial flop, it is now also an ecological disaster.
One million cubic metres of water with toxic heavy metals such as nickel, cadmium, lead, copper, and more flows straight out of the wrecked mine dam to Muonioälven and later the Torne River, which is classified as a national river.

At this link you will find four photos that appear to show the breach of the perimeter embankment or dike and spillage of tailings into the surrounding countryside.  Above is one of them.

The reports make little mention of the causes of failure.  Although the four pictures appear to show more than one breach.  A posting on Facebook dates the failure as 19 July 2014.

Please comment if you know more.

The best read of the week is at this link where you can read the stories of mining engineering students at the University of Arizona College of Engineering.  The stories are about their internships.  As the site notes by way of introduction: Continue Reading »

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Woke up late this morning after twelve hours sleep—seems the older I get the more I want to sleep.  Maybe it is old age or maybe riding my bicycle to work tires out the old body.  Or maybe there is something breaking down inside that the doctors cannot discern. Continue Reading »

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