The failure of a tailings dam is one of the most catastrophic events that can happen at a mine. Not only will it threaten the lives and health of mine workers; cause vast amounts of damage to the mine property, vehicles and other equipment; and massively disrupt production for a long time, but if it’s not contained, a tailings dam failure can also have a devastating effect on local communities, especially those downstream from the dam, and have massive and serious ecological consequences.
The recent failure of a tailings dam at Vale’s Corrego do Feijao iron ore mine, near the town of Brumadinho in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, underscores the damage potential of tailings dams and highlights the need for intensive monitoring of all tailings dams worldwide to eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, the risk of failure.
Merely taking infrequent or irregular manual readings from a few instruments scattered around the dam is not enough. The status of tailings dams must be constantly monitored and managed.
The best way to do this is by installing a comprehensive array of instrumentation, e.g. geotechnical monitoring instruments to monitor the status of the embankment (which is often constructed from tailings material) and hydrological instruments like vibrating-wire piezometers located in boreholes/stand pipes, mostly to monitor the all-important pore pressure, and then linking all of these instruments via battery powered wireless nodes to a state-of-the-art wireless tailings dam monitoring system, like the world-class Loadsensing LS-G6 (from Worldsensing) or the VW-RTU (from Newtrax).
Contact us now and let us guide you on the best way to set up a proper wireless tailings dam monitoring system that is built from the best equipment available to keep your mine and the surrounding communities safe.