Tailings dam monitoring is essential for mine safety in Chile.
Tailings produced as a major byproduct of ore processing are a reality of life in almost all mines. So too are the dams in which this material is stored.
Of course, these structures can become very dangerous if mismanaged or neglected, and tailings dam monitoring should form an important part of the overall mine safety management activities in any mine in Chile.
Monitoring and managing tailings dams
To ensure the tailings dam is properly managed and kept safe at all times, mine engineers must constantly measure the amount, pressure, status, and behavior of water in the dam itself, as well in the surrounding water table. This is commonly achieved by deploying an array of piezometers (vibrating wire or other) at strategic locations, generally inside standpipes.
Data about the status of the wall can be acquired by installing geotechnical and other instruments into the wall itself.
However, simply gathering a lot of data is not enough. For it to be of any practical use, information must be easily accessible. Data can be collected from the instruments one at a time, or simultaneously via a cable-based monitoring network, but both of these methods have severe limitations, mostly in terms of cost (installation and ongoing) and the slow pace at which data is gathered.
Best way to gather and utilize safety-critical data
A far better solution is to connect all the sensors to a comprehensive, fully wireless system that forms the backbone of the mine’s overall tailings dam monitoring activities.
The Loadsensing LS-GS long-range wireless data acquisition system can be effectively used to perform tailings dam monitoring. This system can simultaneously and wirelessly gather data from a multitude of piezometers and geotechnical and other instruments and present it to mine engineers in a format that is easy to understand and use.
Safety thresholds can be programmed into the system by users (in this case, mine engineers). If any of the preset limits are breached, the system will immediately send alerts to the relevant people, so they can investigate and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the mine and its surroundings, especially downstream communities.
Contact us now to find out more about our tailings dam monitoring solutions and how they can make any mine in Chile a safer place.