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Wireless Tailings Dam Monitoring

Ensure the safety of your mine and the surrounding area with a wireless tailings dam monitoring system.

IMG_3691-resizedTailings (the vast amount of waste material generated during processing) are a fact of life that all miners have to deal with. Solid material usually finds its way onto mine dumps, or is used as backfill for construction in and around the mine.

Slurry-type wastes (fine particulate matter mixed with water) are generally pumped into tailings dams (also called slimes dams) for settling and separation. To ensure that they are used properly and don’t become a safety hazard, it is vital that tailings dams are overseen by competent people using first-class monitoring systems.

Fortunately, modern miners have at their disposal various types of instruments that feature both mechanical measurement components and electronic readout heads. For example, piezometers can be used to measure any changes in the water level, as well as the moisture content within dam walls and other retaining features that are constructed mostly from earth or discarded solid tailings material. Further monitoring can be done by installing contractometers and extensometers into the dam wall and other critical structural areas.

Of course, the information being continuously generated by all of these hydrological and geotechnical monitoring devices is only really valuable if it can be easily accessed by mine engineers and other relevant managers and staff members.

This is where wireless monitoring comes in. Using this type of technology can completely revolutionize the way that tailings dams are monitored and managed. Geotechnical instruments can be connected in banks of 3 to a wireless node (like the self-powered MDT-RTU), and hydrology instruments can be connected in banks of 4 (to a VW-RTU). By doing this, data is moved wirelessly from node to node until it reaches an Ethernet gateway, at which point it enters the mine’s existing LAN infrastructure and is readily available to the relevant people.

Access to comprehensive, up to date information allows mine engineers to make the decisions and plans that keep the mine safe and productive.