The potential to reduce the risks posed by tailings dams using satellite-based information

The potential to reduce the risks posed by tailings dams using satellite-based information.
Lumbroso, D.and McElroy, C. and Goff, C. and Roca, M. and Petkovsek, G. and Wetton, M.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 38 . (2019)

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Official URL:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420919302766?dgcid=author
Abstract:The failures of tailings dams, used to store waste from mining operations, pose a significant risk to the health of people and the environment, especially in many low income countries where the extractive industry makes a significant contribution to the nation's wealth. Recently the rate of failure of tailings dams has increased. The demand for raw materials and increases in intense rainfall as a result of climate change will exacerbate this issue in the future. The monitoring of tailings dams is essential to reduce their probability of failure. Virtually all the recent tailings dams failures were preventable. However, there is generally a lack of transparency and accountability for these structures by mining companies. In the past 10 years an increase in the global coverage and accuracy of Earth Observation (EO) based information has made it technically possible to use EO-based data to remotely monitor critical aspects of tailings dams, such as their deformation and the leakage of pollutants. This paper describes the development of an EO-based service, being piloted in Peru, which would allow tailings dams to be monitored cost effectively, and also help to forecast any potentially risk inducing behaviour from tailings dams several weeks in advance. Many regulatory bodies in low income countries do not have the resources to adequately monitor mining operations. A low cost EO-based system could improve the transparency and safety of tailings dams, allowing timely preventative interventions to be made where the probability of failure is found to be high.
Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dam failure; Mining; Satellites; Tailings dams
Subjects:Floods > Dams and reservoirs
ID Code:1755
Deposited On:02 Jul 2019 06:25
Last Modified:02 Jul 2019 06:25

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