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Should Upstream Tailings Storage Facilities be Banned?

Should Upstream Tailings Storage Facilities be Banned?

Webinar Moderator: Mining Review Africa
Date: August 21, 2019

Should upstream tailings storage facilities be banned?

Upstream constructed tailings storage facilities (TSFs) have been banned in Chile, Peru and Brazil and there are many other jurisdictions where such designs may not be accepted by Authorities, especially in wet climates and in highly seismically active areas. 

However, in Southern Africa, in semi-arid climates with low seismicity, upstream TSFs are the dominant wall raising method.  This is a very cost-effective method of using the tailings to impound itself, where perimeter deposition results in a segregated beach of coarser tailings in the wall zone, and finer tailings and water in the basin. These have proven to be stable facilities when constructed within design limits, such as low rates of rise with minimal storage of water in the basin.  In other parts of the world upstream TSFs make use of compacted wall raises to progressively impound the tailings.  These too have been successful used in most cases.

Join Knight Piesold in a live interactive webinar where our experts will look at many new TSFs being designed with barrier systems to minimise the risk of groundwater contamination.  Such lining systems introduce a weaker layer under the wall zone (depending on design) making it unsafe to design upstream TSFs. 

Join this discussion to find out:

  • If the risks of designing and operating upstream TSFs now too high?
  • If so, how will the costs of centre-line or downstream TSFs affect the viability of operational and/or new Mines?


Andrew Copeland | Director | Knight Piésold South Africa

Andries Strauss | Manager: Mine Residue section | Knight Piésold South Africa


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