2019 – TSF Design and the Inclusion of Recovery Controls for the Event of a Tailings Dam Failure

John Plunkett, Jarrad Coffey

This paper discusses the current regulatory requirements and guidelines, which address to varying degrees the need for recovery controls and the engagement of Owners with Impacted Communities (ICs) within a Dam Safety Emergency Response Plan. The planning and application of appropriate recovery controls, which are applicable from the moment of failure, help to build resilience and reduce the ultimate consequence of TSF failure. The application of such controls, developed with close engagement with impacted communities has a strong precedent, being recommended as a result of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) review of good practice for emergency preparedness (Emery, 2005).

This paper presents a simple method to assess various recovery controls, with risk minimisation as its basis, and the use of existing risk assessment techniques such as bow-tie diagrams or the inclusion of recovery controls to other qualitative assessment methods. This will be illustrated through application to some relevant historical TSF failures.

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