Assessing Credible Modes of Failure: Afton TSF Dam Breach Study

Assessing Credible Modes of Failure: Afton TSF Dam Breach Study

Author: Anna Akkerman, P.Eng., Violeta Martin, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Conference: Tailings and Mine Waste 2015
Date: October 25-28, 2015

The Afton Tailings Storage Facility is located in the semi-arid Interior Region of British Columbia and has been in care and maintenance since 1997, after approximately 20 years of operation. In response to the British Columbia Chief Mine Inspector’s orders issued in August 2014, following a dam breach incident at the Mount Polley Mine, dam breach analysis and inundation studies for the Afton Tailings Storage Facility were conducted.

Defining realistic and credible modes of failure that were consistent with the Canadian Dam Association Dam Safety Guidelines for conducting these studies proved challenging due to the hydrologic conditions and certain features of the Tailings Storage Facility dam design. The selection of initial hydrologic conditions and breach locations has a considerable effect on the predicted volume of tailings mobilized, the characteristics of the flood wave, and the extent of the downstream impact.

Inundation results based on modes of failure that are not credible do not provide real value to the owner, regulators, or the public because they offer little insight into the actual risks posed by a facility. This paper examines the challenges in defining credible modes of failure used in dam breach and inundation studies for mining dams, and presents a case study based on the Afton Tailings Storage Facility.

 

Download the full technical paper.

Download

Recent Insights

November 2021
Knight Piésold's Projects Commended at Prestigious Awards
November 2021
Engineer of Record Services for Tailings Facilities
November 2021
Gearing Up for Growth in Zambia
October 2021
Knight Piésold, aliado de la minería sustentable
September 2021
Knight Piésold Chile enfoque personalizado e integral de trabajo al estilo boutique
September 2021
Company Uses Innovative Ideas in Municipal Project
August 2021
South Africa Must Focus on STEM Skills to Enable Development
July 2021
Business Success Stories: Knight Piésold
July 2021
Holistic Approach to Mine and Industrial Water Management
July 2021
Selection of Undrained Shear Strength Parameters of Residual Soils and their Application in Stability Analysis
June 2021
Knight Piésold Focused on Africa's Infrastructure Development
June 2021
Century-old Knight Piésold Remains Committed to Clients and Communities in Phalaborwa
May 2021
Very Few Consulting Firms Reach 100 Years – Knight Piésold Celebrates with Optimism
April 2021
Knight Piésold Celebrates 100 Years of Excellence in Africa
April 2021
Video: Knight Piésold Celebrates 100 Years of Engineering Excellence
April 2021
Opportunities Abound to Support Africa's Resilient Growth - Knight Pièsold
April 2021
Firm Expands Service Offering
March 2021
Celebrating 100 Years of Engineering Excellence
February 2021
Improved Tailings Disposal Could Reduce Water Use
January 2021
Your Community, Your Neighbour