Friday, July 19, 2019

Tailings Dam Management
for the Twenty-First Century

What Mining Companies Need to Know
and Do to Thrive in Our Complex World

Dr. Franco Oboni and C.H. Oboni

Franco Oboni
This book discusses a comprehensive approach to address the need to improve the design of tailings dams, their management and the regulation of tailings management facilities to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the risk of such facilities failing. The book summary, ToC are available at includes specific sections discussing what the public seeks in terms of disclosure of risk exposures, geo-ethics and its design implications.

Cesar Oboni
The scope of the challenge is well documented in the report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and GRID Arendal entitled “Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident,” which was released in October 2017. 

The report identifies several areas where further improvements are required. In this context, the application of cutting-edge risk-assessment methodologies and risk-management practices can contribute to a significant reduction and eventual elimination of dam failures through Risk Informed Decision Making. 

Figure 1. Tailings flood downstream
of Samarco Tailings Dam, Brazil.
The book is based on over thirty years of world-wide consulting experience, relentless methodological research and development, prior books, courses, seminars delivered to corporate key stakeholders, public and governmental agencies, public hearings, expert witnessing in civil and criminal courts, and over fifty technical papers. Its purpose is to identify and describe those risk assessment approaches and risk management practices that must be implemented in order to develop a path forward to reach profitable and sustainable operations that will be corporately and societally acceptable from a risk standpoint. This will simultaneously cover the interests of the public, lenders, investors and insurers as well.

Figure 2. Graph showing one hundred years
of tailings dams failures around the world*.
Thus, the book discussion focuses on identifying and describing the risk-assessment approaches and risk-management practices that need to be implemented in order to develop a way forward to achieve socially acceptable levels of tailings dams’ risks. A complete case study, in the form of a dams’ portfolio risk prioritization geared towards risk mitigation explores the interaction between corporate and societal risk tolerance and how both must guide risk based decision-making.

The book is written for a wide audience concerned by tailings dams risks, from general public up to mining companies board of directors. The language is plain and mathematical concepts are introduced parsimoniously, on a strict need-to-reference basis.


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