DAMSAT: A new Earth Observation based tool for monitoring tailings dams

DAMSAT: A new Earth Observation based tool for monitoring tailings dams.
Lumbroso, D.and Roca, M. and Goff, C. and Petkovsek, G.
In: AGU Fall Meeting 2019, 9-13 December 2019, San Francisco, USA. (2019)

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Abstract:The failures of tailings dams, which store mining waste, present a significant risk to the health of people and the environment, especially in many low income countries where the extractive industry contributes significantly to the economy. In countries such as Peru, despite the large revenues generated by mining, it often generates social discontent and inequalities owing to the impacts of tailings dam failures on ecosystem services and local communities’ livelihoods. The rate of failure of tailings dams is increasing. It is essential that tailings dams are proactively monitored to reduce their probability of failure. Most recent tailings dams failures have been avoidable. However, there is generally a lack of transparency and accountability for these structures. 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. An EO-based service, called DAMSAT, is being developed to help to allow tailings dams to be monitored cost effectively, and also help to forecast any potentially risk inducing behaviour from these structures several weeks in advance. The DAMSAT monitoring system is being piloted in Peru. In recent years there have been a number of tailings dam failures in Peru. In 2008 the Peruvian Government declared a state of emergency at a mine near Lima over fears that arsenic, lead and cadmium from a tailings dam could pollute the main water supply for the capital. A low cost EO-based monitoring system could improve the transparency, safety and sustainability of mining operations, helping Peru to meet their Sustainable Development Goals related to clean water and sanitation, and responsible consumption and production.
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Subjects:Floods > General
ID Code:1773
Deposited On:09 Oct 2019 09:52
Last Modified:09 Oct 2019 09:52

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