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


Webinar Recording


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