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Posts Tagged ‘slimes dam’

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I learnt today that Geoff Blight has passed away.  I can pay tribute to him best by writing of those times I worked with him. He was a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.  He came in and took over when Professor Jennings died. I never had a lecture from him, so I leave it to others to record his lecture style and teaching abilities–both of which I was told were superb. (more…)

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The following just in from Venmyn Deloitte on reworking of old South African slimes dams or tailings facilities to use the more modern term.  All the old slimes dams around the area I grew up are gone.  The biggest loss is that big pile of yellow sand down which we would slide on corrugated cardboard boxes.  The pile was so full of uranium and gold that it was one of the first to go.  I hate to think what our radioactive exposure was as kids.  I can report no ill after-effects either from the radioactivity or from the mercury my father brought home for us to play with on the bedroom floor.  And we knew not what a seatbelt was in those heady days of vast exposure to danger.  (more…)

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South African and tailings history are now richer as a result of a new book on Fraser Alexander.  I have managed to obtain an e-copy of the entire book.  I presume I am permitted to send you a copy if you cannot obtain a hard-copy.  I am much indebted to those who arranged for me to get the e-copy.  I will put you in touch with them if you email me. (more…)

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Here is a picture of a mining disaster waiting to happen.  This is a mine in Australia that is shut down because too much rain has filled their tailings impoundment and they appear to have no facilities to treat water hence to release it.  (more…)

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Growing up on the East Geduld Mine, a gold mine at the far east end of the South African Witwatersrand, we often went to play around the slimes dams and the pools of orange, green, and blue waters that dotted the landscape.   Our parent forbade us to go there, for there were stories of kids sliding into pools, drowning, or worse, being entombed in collapsing caverns in the slimes dams.  But that made our adventures all the more exciting. (more…)

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A casual conversation in the parking garage involved this question: “What are the five tailings failures that set the course of history?” (more…)

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  Four sturdy metal tricycles bounced across the African veldt.  Three maids followed, each wearing a clean white apron.  On the tricycles were four mining brats:  one grew up to be chemical engineer—she worked in industry; one grew up to marry the manager of a platinum mine; one became a famous cricketer–Hylton Ackerman died last year, but his son continues cricket; one grew up to write blogs—me.  (more…)

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More on slimes dams, tailings impoundments, and processed geological materials residue deposits.  Here is an extract from a recent e-mail setting out the regulations that govern tailings dams in South Africa. (more…)

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Here is a link to a paper that I and a fellow author wrote for the conference on tailings and mine waste 2010.  This is not the version published in the proceedings.  Rather it is an updated version, now made more publically available. 

The paper seeks to record some of the many people who contributed to the development of slimes dam practice in South Africa over the past one hundred years.  It is a fascinating story that culminates in the grand book by Geoff Blight on the topic of South African tailings practice. 

All I ask here is that if you have more information on the history of South African slimes dams, please send it along, and we will continue to collate the information.  Thanks.

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   At the conference in Vail earlier this week, somebody at dinner said this: “I am sick of hearing people talk about other people’s tailings impoundment failures.  Why can’t anyone stand up and say ‘this is why the dam I designed failed’?”   [I hope I get the punctuation right.] (more…)

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