Posts Tagged ‘amec’


I have spent the past few weeks in Rota, Spain with my son and family.  The sun shines on the house patio—most times. Athough some days the mist endures all day and it is cold.   Today the sun overcame the mists by about eleven a.m., and it was fun to sit in the sun and read John Grisham’s book The Last Juror.Sometimes I come inside and work on the computer.  I read what is written on Mt Polley and update an EduMine course that I am writing on Risk Assessment, Decision Making, and Management of Mine Geowaste Facilities.  For the failure of Mt Polley tailings facility is the best possible current example of the failure of risk assessment, decision making, and management of geowaste facilities we know of. (more…)

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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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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. (more…)

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Some large consultants to the mining industry are doing very well–in spite of reports of a downturn in the profits of big mining companies.  Here is a quote from a long report on recent profits by AMEC: (more…)

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It was almost six months ago that we met at the 2011 Tailings and Mine Waste Conference in Vancouver.  It is only six months until we meet at the 2012 conference in Colorado, and before that we have to write the papers. (more…)

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Mike Davies is the pre-eminent tailings engineer of present times.  He and his team in Vancouver can solve any tailings challenge your mine may face.  He and his team at AMEC are the best of the best.  They have not paid me to say this; I write, as always, on the basis of personal opinion & conviction. (more…)

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Vail, Colorado was once a mining town.  Now it is a Disney horror of fake Alpine buildings clinging to an image that is rooted in conspicuous consumption.  To survive the off-season, all food prices are half-price. 

The conference on tailings and mine waste is just ended and we have left this ski resort, newly informed on the state-of-the-art and practice of tailings management in mines world-wide.  Here are some reflections on the state-of-things: (more…)

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