Current status and developing recommendations of tailings dam failure
Chinese Journal of Engineering
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Tailings dam failure accidents with limited emergency response time and huge potential threats, can often lead to heavy casualties and serious financial losses. In recent years, the decreasing trend of tailings dam failure accidents evidences the development of modern technology and safety management. However, the frequency of major tailings dam failure accidents has increased, rather than decreased. The 2015 Samarco Accident in Brazil and the 2014 Mount Polley Accident in Canada, along with their disastrous consequences, once again sounded the alarm for the tailings ponds safety. China is now facing a complicated safety situation, with 8869 tailings ponds all over the country, including 1425 “Overhead Tailings Ponds” which represents the tailings ponds that located within 1 km upstream of residential area, workshops, schools or other important facilities. Based on a large amount of relevant research literatures, focusing on three main aspects of accident prevention and control which include safety monitoring, early-warning and emergency preparation, safety management codes and standards, the current status and frontier progress were reviewed in this paper. Furthermore, the relevant problems in China were discussed and several improvement recommendations were put forward, which could provide a reference for the tailings pond accident prevention theoretical research and technological innovation. The result shows: (1) the safety monitoring standards in China are relatively strict. However, the monitoring instruments are lack of the stability, reliability and practicability. Thus the development of specific devices and new technologies is urgently needed. (2) The current early-warning method is lack of diversity and reliability. And further interdisciplinary application of information technology is becoming the developing trend. (3) The emergency management and decision-making should be based on sufficient scientific proof. However the relevant research is limited by test methods and simulating algorithms. (4) China now has built a complete system of safety management codes and standards. But with shortcomings of safety level classification, life-cycle management, change management process, accident investigation and so on, there is still a long way to go.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Hindawi Publishing Corporation via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 37 (1), pp. 1-8