October 7, 2021, Vancouver, BC, Canada – Dr. Violeta Martin, Specialist Hydrotechnical Engineer at Knight Piésold Canada, is a key contributor to the recent release of the Technical Bulletin: Tailings Dam Breach Analysis (Bulletin) by the Canadian Dam Association (CDA). The Bulletin aims to provide dam safety professionals with guidance on the general process and scope for conducting a tailings dam breach analysis (TDBA) based on the current state of practice.
Understanding the consequences of a tailings dam breach are critical in safety management and in the identification of the level of hazard and threats to public safety and the environment. Guidelines for dam breach analysis are available for water retaining dams, but none of these address the hydrodynamic, rheological, and geotechnical processes related to tailings flows that are critical to tailings dam breach events. The Bulletin aims to fill this literature gap and offers a consistent basis for analysis to inform discussion among dam owners, dam safety professionals, and tailings dam regulators.
Dr. Martin is a Co-Chair of the Tailings Dam Breach Working Group (Working Group), together with Mohammad Al-Mamun of Tetra Tech. The CDA Mining Dams Committee formed the Working Group, following findings from two CDA workshops in 2014 and 2015. Starting in 2016, the Working Group led the development of the Bulletin in collaboration with CDA committees and members, and the industry at large. Additional CDA workshops were held in 2017 and 2019, and a technical paper on the draft version of the Bulletin was presented at the 2019 ICOLD Symposium. Draft versions of the Bulletin were extensively reviewed by CDA committees and members, and its external reviewers.
Dr. Martin is also an active member of the CDA Dam Safety Committee. She is a civil engineer with over 25 years of consulting and teaching experience and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia. She has extensive experience with dam breach assessments for both water retaining and tailings dams, including impact assessments and life loss analysis. Her expertise includes modelling and design in the fields of hydraulics, hydrology, sediment transport, wave generation and propagation, effluent mixing, and pipelines for the hydroelectric and mining industries.
“We are extremely proud of Violeta’s continued leadership of the Working Group and ongoing involvement in setting the standard for TDBA best practices,” said Ken Embree, President of Knight Piésold Canada. “We look forward to continuing to support clients through safe tailings management as these best practices and technologies evolve.”