‘LIFE OF A DAM’ Webinar Series – Investigation and Design: Tailings Management and Retaining Structures

Management of mine tailings is usually a vital component of any mining operations, which its importance is often overlooked (until something goes wrong) as there are no direct financial benefits in tailings disposal for the mine operators. Poor design and management of tailings storage facilities have been responsible for many incidents in recent years such as Jagersfontein (South Africa, 2022), Feijao (Brazil 2019), Fundao/Samarco (Brazil 2015) mine disasters.

Tailings are generally stored in surface facilities in the form of a slurry or filter cake, where further settlement and consolidation may occur with time.  An Options or Trade-Off study is usually the first step in selecting the most cost-effective option that could meet all regulatory requirements and site specific criteria, including construction, operation and closure costs. 

In this presentation a number of tailings management systems ranging from “conventional” to advanced schemes are outlined, and some of the associated risks will be highlighted. The main parameters driving selection of the optimal form for a tailings management scheme will also be presented, together with some discussion around principles of a defensive design for tailings dams.


Behrooz is currently ATC Williams Chief Technical Officer and has over 30 years of experience as a consultant, researcher, and educator in the civil, geotechnical and mining engineering fields with significant emphasis on geotechnical and water management aspects of tailings retaining structures.

Dr Ghahreman Nejad is also an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, the University of Melbourne. His research expertise encompasses the application of a comprehensive range of experimental (physical) and theoretical (numerical) modelling techniques in geomechanics. Behrooz has authored numerous technical publications, and lectures on geotechnical engineering of dams.


5:00 – 5:05 PM – introduction of speaker

5:05 – 6:05 PM – Presentation

6:05 – 6:25 PM – Questions and Answers

6:25 – 6:30 PM – Closeout

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