Empowering Mining and Tailings Operations: The Proqio Data Intelligence Advantage

Empowering Mining and Tailings Operations: The Proqio Data Intelligence Advantage

Empowering Mining and Tailings Operations: The Proqio Data Intelligence Advantage

Discover how integrating these technologies into a unified platform can streamline data analysis, enhance decision-making, and fortify the safety and operational efficiency of mining practices

Discover how integrating these technologies into a unified platform can streamline data analysis, enhance decision-making, and fortify the safety and operational efficiency of mining practices

Discover how integrating these technologies into a unified platform can streamline data analysis, enhance decision-making, and fortify the safety and operational efficiency of mining practices

3 Apr 2024

3 Apr 2024

3 Apr 2024

Mining

Dam

Satellite

Tailings dams are integral components of modern mining operations. They contain the byproducts of mining processes, including tailings and waste materials. These structures, often vast and complex, are designed to hold a mixture of solids and liquids, ranging from fine particles to slurry, within earth-fill embankment dams. The containment of such materials is not merely a matter of operational efficiency but a vital environmental imperative, as the contents can pose significant risks due to their potential toxicity and radioactivity.


The primary mission of tailings dams is to ensure the secure storage of mining waste, thereby preventing environmental pollution and safeguarding the surrounding ecosystems. Their role is pivotal in maintaining the sustainability and productivity of mining operations, ensuring that the inevitable byproducts do not become a source of ecological degradation.


However, the history of tailings dams is marred by failures, with a documented record of 366 accidents, which led to the release of approximately 279 million cubic meters of tailings across vast distances and tragically resulted in over 3,000 fatalities. These incidents underscore tailings dam construction, maintenance, and management challenges. They highlight the pressing need for enhanced strategies in dam safety, encompassing improved design, rigorous monitoring, and comprehensive environmental management.


Over the past two decades, the frequency and magnitude of these failures have discernibly escalated, particularly among larger dams. This situation highlights a research gap in remediation and mitigation strategies and an urgent call for intervention by government bodies, the mining industry, and health authorities.


Addressing the Complex Challenges of Tailings Dam Management


With over 3,500 active tailings storage facilities worldwide, the mining industry faces significant challenges in managing these critical structures. Tailings dams, essential for the containment of mining byproducts, are fraught with risks that necessitate meticulous oversight and robust management to prevent catastrophic failures.



Stability and Integrity Concerns


  • Foundation Stability: The stability of a tailings dam is fundamentally linked to its foundation. Variabilities in soil composition, settlement patterns, and underlying geological conditions are pivotal factors that can compromise the dam's integrity, necessitating thorough geotechnical evaluations to ensure foundational robustness.

  • Internal Erosion and Piping: Water permeating through the dam can instigate internal erosion, undermining the structure by creating seepage pathways. Piping, where water transports fine particles, further weakens the dam, underscoring the need for effective internal erosion mitigation strategies.

  • Overtopping Risks: Tailings dams are particularly susceptible to overtopping, where excessive water flow, often due to heavy rainfall, surmounts the dam crest, potentially triggering erosion and failure. This risk is pronounced in the upstream construction method, which is inherently more vulnerable to such incidents.

  • Seepage Management: Controlling water seepage is pivotal to maintaining dam stability. Unchecked seepage can erode the dam from within, emphasizing the critical role of continuous monitoring and maintenance to promptly detect and address seepage issues.

  • Seismic Considerations: The impact of seismic activity on tailings dams cannot be overstated. Earthquake-induced vibrations can compromise the dam's structural integrity, making assessing seismic risks an essential component of dam safety evaluations.

  • Slope Stability: The stability of the dam's slopes is crucial to its overall integrity. Factors such as erosion, saturation, or design deficiencies can precipitate slope failures, highlighting the importance of rigorous slope stability analysis in dam design and maintenance.


Environmental and Regulatory Considerations


  • Mitigating Environmental Pollution: The release of tailings into the environment during dam failures can devastate waterways, soil quality, and biodiversity, underscoring the imperative for stringent tailings management practices.

  • Water Management Efficacy: Water management is vital to mitigate overflow and leakage risks and ensure that tailings dams do not contribute to environmental degradation.

  • Adherence to Regulatory Standards: Mining entities must navigate the delicate balance between economic objectives and environmental stewardship, adhering to stringent regulatory requirements to minimize the environmental footprint of waste disposal.


Incorporating ESG Parameters: With the increasing global focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, tailings dam management transcends technical and operational considerations, aligning with broader sustainability objectives. Integrating ESG parameters involves ensuring the environmental integrity of tailings dams and considering their social implications and governance aspects, fostering transparency, accountability, and community engagement in tailings management practices. This holistic approach mitigates risks and enhances the mining industry's contribution to sustainable development.

Ensuring Permanent Containment


Tailings dams are engineered for long-term containment, requiring ongoing monitoring and management to safeguard against failures. Unlike hydroelectric dams, which can be decommissioned, tailings dams must be maintained indefinitely, necessitating a proactive approach to their care.


Material and Construction Challenges


Constructed from an amalgam of soil, waste, and mining residues, tailings dams are particularly prone to damage arising from their constituent materials and the methodologies employed in their construction. Height increments can amplify the volume of contained wastewater, escalating the pressure on the dam and elevating the risk of failure.


Design and Monitoring Imperatives


The dire consequences of dam failures underscore the imperative for stringent design standards and comprehensive monitoring. Ensuring the application of rigorous design criteria and implementing cost-effective yet thorough monitoring practices are critical to identifying and rectifying potential issues before they escalate.


Tailings Dam Safety and Operations Management with Proqio


Proqio offers a sophisticated platform that transforms the management of tailings dams and mining operations. It integrates versatile data sets from various monitoring technologies for comprehensive data analysis to ensure safety and operational efficiency.


Team Collaboration and Data Access on Proqio


You can build different dashboards for different sites with simplicity on Proqio. It enables the creation of teams, allowing for managing multiple sites under a single platform. This feature ensures relevant stakeholders have tailored access to pertinent data, fostering a collaborative environment. By assigning specific data access to different team members, Proqio ensures that every stakeholder, from engineers to environmental managers, can focus on the most relevant information in their role, enhancing decision-making and operational transparency.


Proqio Project Settings


Advanced Geotechnical Analysis and Report Integration


Proqio from diverse technologies to provide a unified view of tailings dam conditions.  It supports advanced geotechnical calculations and the generation of various reports with simplicity. Users can upload ESG reports, design documents, and other essential data, enabling a holistic approach to tailings dam management. This facilitates a thorough understanding of the dam's condition, aiding in risk assessment and ensuring environmental and safety standards compliance.


Key Monitoring Technologies Integrated by Proqio


Proqio synthesizes data from an array of instruments and technologies, ensuring a robust monitoring framework for tailings dam safety:

  • InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar): This technology provides critical insights into ground deformation, which is vital for monitoring dam stability and detecting potential failure zones.


InSAR and Instrumentation Data


  • Satellite Data: Broad coverage satellite imagery assists in tracking changes across the entire mine site, which is crucial for understanding land cover changes, vegetation growth, or subsidence.


Satellite Data on Proqio


  • Geodetic Monitoring via Automatic Total Stations (ATS) and GNSS: ATS integrates electronic distance and angle measurements for displacement and deformation monitoring. These instruments are essential for detecting subtle movements in the dam structure and enabling timely intervention to prevent failures. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is integral to tailings safety management, offering high-precision positioning and monitoring to detect even the smallest movements of a tailings dam. This geospatial technology provides continuous, accurate displacement monitoring crucial for detecting instability or shifts in the dam structure.

  • LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology creates detailed 3D terrain models, which are essential for assessing dam geometry and stability analysis.


LiDAR Data on Proqio


  • Ground Radar Systems for Surface Monitoring: Deploying ground radar systems enhances a tailings facility's real-time surveillance capabilities. These systems provide an early warning by detecting and reporting potential structural shifts or deformations, enabling preemptive measures to fortify the dam before any issues escalate.

  • Hyperspectral Radar for Material Analysis: Hyperspectral radar systems collect data across various electromagnetic wavelengths to pinpoint specific materials and detect minute changes in surface composition. This capability is integral to assessing tailings dams' health and material integrity.

  • Drones: Offering high-resolution aerial imagery, drones are invaluable for conducting detailed inspections of the dam's surface detecting cracks, erosion, or other potential issues.

  • Fiber Optic Instruments: These sensors provide detailed monitoring of temperature changes, strain, and movement within the dam structure, offering insights into internal conditions.

  • Tailings and Impoundments Reflectance Index (TIRISM): An Innovative Risk Indicator and comprehensive risk assessment tool by AssetAssurance Monitoringthat evaluates factors affecting tailings dam stability, such as design, construction quality, and operational practices, to ascertain overall risk levels using satellite data.

TIRI Data on Proqio


  • Geotechnical Instrumentation: The integration of IoT technology has significantly streamlined the process of tailings dam monitoring. IoT technology diminishes the risk of catastrophic failures by providing continuous, automatic data readings from geotechnical instrumentation embedded within the dam structure. Key instruments are:


Geotechnical and Environmental Instruments on Proqio


  • Piezometers: Crucial for measuring pore water pressure to understand the dam's stability.

  • Tilt Meters: Essential for detecting slope movements and providing early warnings of potential instability.

  • Crack Meters: These are important for monitoring the development of cracks within the dam structure.

  • In-place Inclinometers and Extensometers: Key for assessing lateral movements and deformation within the dam.

  • Vibrating Wire Strain gage monitors in-situ stress changes in the dam structure and can detect stress distributions and variations that may compromise dam integrity.


Proqio's analytical tools and visualizations


Proqio empowers stakeholders to manage and mitigate risks associated with tailing dams.

For analysis and data understanding, Proqio has dynamic tools like:

  • Dynamic Filters: Proqio's filtering capability allows users to sift through vast datasets, focusing on crucial metrics such as construction progress, geotechnical parameters, and safety indicators. This precision filtering aids in isolating significant data points, enabling targeted analysis.

Proqio Filters Setup


  • Heatmaps for Pattern Recognition: Proqio utilizes heatmaps to visually represent data, highlighting areas of concern like high-stress zones or temperature variations across the dam. This visual tool is instrumental in pinpointing potential risk areas that require attention.


Proqio Heatmaps


  • Graphical Insights: Proqio generates comprehensive graphs illustrating trends, correlations, and performance metrics across various data sets. Whether tracking the stability of a dam over time or analyzing convergence rates in tunnels, these graphs offer a visual narrative of the data.


Validating Displacement Data From an Extensometer and InSAR, and Temperature Data from Piezometer and Extensometer


  • Data Models: The platform's data modeling capabilities allow users to construct sophisticated models to conduct calculations for data entered the platform. These models also allow users to perform advanced mathematical operations and regression-based calculations, assess risks, and make informed decisions. These models are vital for proactive management, from estimating the lifespan of infrastructure to simulating different operational scenarios.


Proqio Data Models and Calculations


Advanced Visualizations and Real-Time Monitoring


  • GIS Layer Integration: Proqio's integration with GIS layers enriches the data with geographic context, enabling users to overlay infrastructure data on detailed maps. This spatial insight is crucial for comprehensive site analysis and risk assessment.

  • 3D Mapping and Digital Twins: The platform offers 3D mapping capabilities, allowing users to explore complex structures from multiple angles. Digital twins take this further by creating a virtual replica of the physical asset, providing a powerful tool for real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and scenario testing.


Proqio 3D Maps


  • Real-Time Dashboards: Proqio's real-time dashboards deliver up-to-the-minute data to stakeholders tailored to their roles and responsibilities. This ensures that each team member, from engineers to project managers, can access relevant, actionable insights. Dashboards can be built intuitively with widgets


Proqio Dashboard


Proactive Risk Management with Alerts and Automated Reporting


  • Alerts and Alarms: The system's alert mechanism is critical in risk management, notifying stakeholders of deviations from expected metrics. Whether it's an unexpected movement detected by sensors or a threshold breach in monitoring data, Proqio ensures stakeholders can react promptly to mitigate risks.


Proqio Alerts Panel: Note this is a demo


Proqio Alerts


  • Automated and Scheduled Reporting: Proqio's automated reporting feature informs all stakeholders with regular updates. These reports are customized to meet each user's specific needs, ensuring that essential data is communicated efficiently and effectively.

Proqio Report Templates


By integrating these diverse analytical tools and flexible visualization features, Proqio enhances the understanding of tailings dams' conditions and significantly improves early risk detection and management capacity. As an operator you benefit from early warnings for preventive actions, as a regulator you can transparent data for compliance which takes care of the community’s safety. Proqio’s comprehensive approach ensures that tailings dams are monitored with the highest precision and expertise, safeguarding against potential failures and aligning with the industry's best safety and environmental protection practices.


Note: All data on the images are from Demo Sites and Sample Data in Proqio. You can integrate data from any data source, any manufacturer for your projects need.

Tailings dams are integral components of modern mining operations. They contain the byproducts of mining processes, including tailings and waste materials. These structures, often vast and complex, are designed to hold a mixture of solids and liquids, ranging from fine particles to slurry, within earth-fill embankment dams. The containment of such materials is not merely a matter of operational efficiency but a vital environmental imperative, as the contents can pose significant risks due to their potential toxicity and radioactivity.


The primary mission of tailings dams is to ensure the secure storage of mining waste, thereby preventing environmental pollution and safeguarding the surrounding ecosystems. Their role is pivotal in maintaining the sustainability and productivity of mining operations, ensuring that the inevitable byproducts do not become a source of ecological degradation.


However, the history of tailings dams is marred by failures, with a documented record of 366 accidents, which led to the release of approximately 279 million cubic meters of tailings across vast distances and tragically resulted in over 3,000 fatalities. These incidents underscore tailings dam construction, maintenance, and management challenges. They highlight the pressing need for enhanced strategies in dam safety, encompassing improved design, rigorous monitoring, and comprehensive environmental management.


Over the past two decades, the frequency and magnitude of these failures have discernibly escalated, particularly among larger dams. This situation highlights a research gap in remediation and mitigation strategies and an urgent call for intervention by government bodies, the mining industry, and health authorities.


Addressing the Complex Challenges of Tailings Dam Management


With over 3,500 active tailings storage facilities worldwide, the mining industry faces significant challenges in managing these critical structures. Tailings dams, essential for the containment of mining byproducts, are fraught with risks that necessitate meticulous oversight and robust management to prevent catastrophic failures.



Stability and Integrity Concerns


  • Foundation Stability: The stability of a tailings dam is fundamentally linked to its foundation. Variabilities in soil composition, settlement patterns, and underlying geological conditions are pivotal factors that can compromise the dam's integrity, necessitating thorough geotechnical evaluations to ensure foundational robustness.

  • Internal Erosion and Piping: Water permeating through the dam can instigate internal erosion, undermining the structure by creating seepage pathways. Piping, where water transports fine particles, further weakens the dam, underscoring the need for effective internal erosion mitigation strategies.

  • Overtopping Risks: Tailings dams are particularly susceptible to overtopping, where excessive water flow, often due to heavy rainfall, surmounts the dam crest, potentially triggering erosion and failure. This risk is pronounced in the upstream construction method, which is inherently more vulnerable to such incidents.

  • Seepage Management: Controlling water seepage is pivotal to maintaining dam stability. Unchecked seepage can erode the dam from within, emphasizing the critical role of continuous monitoring and maintenance to promptly detect and address seepage issues.

  • Seismic Considerations: The impact of seismic activity on tailings dams cannot be overstated. Earthquake-induced vibrations can compromise the dam's structural integrity, making assessing seismic risks an essential component of dam safety evaluations.

  • Slope Stability: The stability of the dam's slopes is crucial to its overall integrity. Factors such as erosion, saturation, or design deficiencies can precipitate slope failures, highlighting the importance of rigorous slope stability analysis in dam design and maintenance.


Environmental and Regulatory Considerations


  • Mitigating Environmental Pollution: The release of tailings into the environment during dam failures can devastate waterways, soil quality, and biodiversity, underscoring the imperative for stringent tailings management practices.

  • Water Management Efficacy: Water management is vital to mitigate overflow and leakage risks and ensure that tailings dams do not contribute to environmental degradation.

  • Adherence to Regulatory Standards: Mining entities must navigate the delicate balance between economic objectives and environmental stewardship, adhering to stringent regulatory requirements to minimize the environmental footprint of waste disposal.


Incorporating ESG Parameters: With the increasing global focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, tailings dam management transcends technical and operational considerations, aligning with broader sustainability objectives. Integrating ESG parameters involves ensuring the environmental integrity of tailings dams and considering their social implications and governance aspects, fostering transparency, accountability, and community engagement in tailings management practices. This holistic approach mitigates risks and enhances the mining industry's contribution to sustainable development.

Ensuring Permanent Containment


Tailings dams are engineered for long-term containment, requiring ongoing monitoring and management to safeguard against failures. Unlike hydroelectric dams, which can be decommissioned, tailings dams must be maintained indefinitely, necessitating a proactive approach to their care.


Material and Construction Challenges


Constructed from an amalgam of soil, waste, and mining residues, tailings dams are particularly prone to damage arising from their constituent materials and the methodologies employed in their construction. Height increments can amplify the volume of contained wastewater, escalating the pressure on the dam and elevating the risk of failure.


Design and Monitoring Imperatives


The dire consequences of dam failures underscore the imperative for stringent design standards and comprehensive monitoring. Ensuring the application of rigorous design criteria and implementing cost-effective yet thorough monitoring practices are critical to identifying and rectifying potential issues before they escalate.


Tailings Dam Safety and Operations Management with Proqio


Proqio offers a sophisticated platform that transforms the management of tailings dams and mining operations. It integrates versatile data sets from various monitoring technologies for comprehensive data analysis to ensure safety and operational efficiency.


Team Collaboration and Data Access on Proqio


You can build different dashboards for different sites with simplicity on Proqio. It enables the creation of teams, allowing for managing multiple sites under a single platform. This feature ensures relevant stakeholders have tailored access to pertinent data, fostering a collaborative environment. By assigning specific data access to different team members, Proqio ensures that every stakeholder, from engineers to environmental managers, can focus on the most relevant information in their role, enhancing decision-making and operational transparency.


Proqio Project Settings


Advanced Geotechnical Analysis and Report Integration


Proqio from diverse technologies to provide a unified view of tailings dam conditions.  It supports advanced geotechnical calculations and the generation of various reports with simplicity. Users can upload ESG reports, design documents, and other essential data, enabling a holistic approach to tailings dam management. This facilitates a thorough understanding of the dam's condition, aiding in risk assessment and ensuring environmental and safety standards compliance.


Key Monitoring Technologies Integrated by Proqio


Proqio synthesizes data from an array of instruments and technologies, ensuring a robust monitoring framework for tailings dam safety:

  • InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar): This technology provides critical insights into ground deformation, which is vital for monitoring dam stability and detecting potential failure zones.


InSAR and Instrumentation Data


  • Satellite Data: Broad coverage satellite imagery assists in tracking changes across the entire mine site, which is crucial for understanding land cover changes, vegetation growth, or subsidence.


Satellite Data on Proqio


  • Geodetic Monitoring via Automatic Total Stations (ATS) and GNSS: ATS integrates electronic distance and angle measurements for displacement and deformation monitoring. These instruments are essential for detecting subtle movements in the dam structure and enabling timely intervention to prevent failures. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is integral to tailings safety management, offering high-precision positioning and monitoring to detect even the smallest movements of a tailings dam. This geospatial technology provides continuous, accurate displacement monitoring crucial for detecting instability or shifts in the dam structure.

  • LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology creates detailed 3D terrain models, which are essential for assessing dam geometry and stability analysis.


LiDAR Data on Proqio


  • Ground Radar Systems for Surface Monitoring: Deploying ground radar systems enhances a tailings facility's real-time surveillance capabilities. These systems provide an early warning by detecting and reporting potential structural shifts or deformations, enabling preemptive measures to fortify the dam before any issues escalate.

  • Hyperspectral Radar for Material Analysis: Hyperspectral radar systems collect data across various electromagnetic wavelengths to pinpoint specific materials and detect minute changes in surface composition. This capability is integral to assessing tailings dams' health and material integrity.

  • Drones: Offering high-resolution aerial imagery, drones are invaluable for conducting detailed inspections of the dam's surface detecting cracks, erosion, or other potential issues.

  • Fiber Optic Instruments: These sensors provide detailed monitoring of temperature changes, strain, and movement within the dam structure, offering insights into internal conditions.

  • Tailings and Impoundments Reflectance Index (TIRISM): An Innovative Risk Indicator and comprehensive risk assessment tool by AssetAssurance Monitoringthat evaluates factors affecting tailings dam stability, such as design, construction quality, and operational practices, to ascertain overall risk levels using satellite data.

TIRI Data on Proqio


  • Geotechnical Instrumentation: The integration of IoT technology has significantly streamlined the process of tailings dam monitoring. IoT technology diminishes the risk of catastrophic failures by providing continuous, automatic data readings from geotechnical instrumentation embedded within the dam structure. Key instruments are:


Geotechnical and Environmental Instruments on Proqio


  • Piezometers: Crucial for measuring pore water pressure to understand the dam's stability.

  • Tilt Meters: Essential for detecting slope movements and providing early warnings of potential instability.

  • Crack Meters: These are important for monitoring the development of cracks within the dam structure.

  • In-place Inclinometers and Extensometers: Key for assessing lateral movements and deformation within the dam.

  • Vibrating Wire Strain gage monitors in-situ stress changes in the dam structure and can detect stress distributions and variations that may compromise dam integrity.


Proqio's analytical tools and visualizations


Proqio empowers stakeholders to manage and mitigate risks associated with tailing dams.

For analysis and data understanding, Proqio has dynamic tools like:

  • Dynamic Filters: Proqio's filtering capability allows users to sift through vast datasets, focusing on crucial metrics such as construction progress, geotechnical parameters, and safety indicators. This precision filtering aids in isolating significant data points, enabling targeted analysis.

Proqio Filters Setup


  • Heatmaps for Pattern Recognition: Proqio utilizes heatmaps to visually represent data, highlighting areas of concern like high-stress zones or temperature variations across the dam. This visual tool is instrumental in pinpointing potential risk areas that require attention.


Proqio Heatmaps


  • Graphical Insights: Proqio generates comprehensive graphs illustrating trends, correlations, and performance metrics across various data sets. Whether tracking the stability of a dam over time or analyzing convergence rates in tunnels, these graphs offer a visual narrative of the data.


Validating Displacement Data From an Extensometer and InSAR, and Temperature Data from Piezometer and Extensometer


  • Data Models: The platform's data modeling capabilities allow users to construct sophisticated models to conduct calculations for data entered the platform. These models also allow users to perform advanced mathematical operations and regression-based calculations, assess risks, and make informed decisions. These models are vital for proactive management, from estimating the lifespan of infrastructure to simulating different operational scenarios.


Proqio Data Models and Calculations


Advanced Visualizations and Real-Time Monitoring


  • GIS Layer Integration: Proqio's integration with GIS layers enriches the data with geographic context, enabling users to overlay infrastructure data on detailed maps. This spatial insight is crucial for comprehensive site analysis and risk assessment.

  • 3D Mapping and Digital Twins: The platform offers 3D mapping capabilities, allowing users to explore complex structures from multiple angles. Digital twins take this further by creating a virtual replica of the physical asset, providing a powerful tool for real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and scenario testing.


Proqio 3D Maps


  • Real-Time Dashboards: Proqio's real-time dashboards deliver up-to-the-minute data to stakeholders tailored to their roles and responsibilities. This ensures that each team member, from engineers to project managers, can access relevant, actionable insights. Dashboards can be built intuitively with widgets


Proqio Dashboard


Proactive Risk Management with Alerts and Automated Reporting


  • Alerts and Alarms: The system's alert mechanism is critical in risk management, notifying stakeholders of deviations from expected metrics. Whether it's an unexpected movement detected by sensors or a threshold breach in monitoring data, Proqio ensures stakeholders can react promptly to mitigate risks.


Proqio Alerts Panel: Note this is a demo


Proqio Alerts


  • Automated and Scheduled Reporting: Proqio's automated reporting feature informs all stakeholders with regular updates. These reports are customized to meet each user's specific needs, ensuring that essential data is communicated efficiently and effectively.

Proqio Report Templates


By integrating these diverse analytical tools and flexible visualization features, Proqio enhances the understanding of tailings dams' conditions and significantly improves early risk detection and management capacity. As an operator you benefit from early warnings for preventive actions, as a regulator you can transparent data for compliance which takes care of the community’s safety. Proqio’s comprehensive approach ensures that tailings dams are monitored with the highest precision and expertise, safeguarding against potential failures and aligning with the industry's best safety and environmental protection practices.


Note: All data on the images are from Demo Sites and Sample Data in Proqio. You can integrate data from any data source, any manufacturer for your projects need.

Tailings dams are integral components of modern mining operations. They contain the byproducts of mining processes, including tailings and waste materials. These structures, often vast and complex, are designed to hold a mixture of solids and liquids, ranging from fine particles to slurry, within earth-fill embankment dams. The containment of such materials is not merely a matter of operational efficiency but a vital environmental imperative, as the contents can pose significant risks due to their potential toxicity and radioactivity.


The primary mission of tailings dams is to ensure the secure storage of mining waste, thereby preventing environmental pollution and safeguarding the surrounding ecosystems. Their role is pivotal in maintaining the sustainability and productivity of mining operations, ensuring that the inevitable byproducts do not become a source of ecological degradation.


However, the history of tailings dams is marred by failures, with a documented record of 366 accidents, which led to the release of approximately 279 million cubic meters of tailings across vast distances and tragically resulted in over 3,000 fatalities. These incidents underscore tailings dam construction, maintenance, and management challenges. They highlight the pressing need for enhanced strategies in dam safety, encompassing improved design, rigorous monitoring, and comprehensive environmental management.


Over the past two decades, the frequency and magnitude of these failures have discernibly escalated, particularly among larger dams. This situation highlights a research gap in remediation and mitigation strategies and an urgent call for intervention by government bodies, the mining industry, and health authorities.


Addressing the Complex Challenges of Tailings Dam Management


With over 3,500 active tailings storage facilities worldwide, the mining industry faces significant challenges in managing these critical structures. Tailings dams, essential for the containment of mining byproducts, are fraught with risks that necessitate meticulous oversight and robust management to prevent catastrophic failures.



Stability and Integrity Concerns


  • Foundation Stability: The stability of a tailings dam is fundamentally linked to its foundation. Variabilities in soil composition, settlement patterns, and underlying geological conditions are pivotal factors that can compromise the dam's integrity, necessitating thorough geotechnical evaluations to ensure foundational robustness.

  • Internal Erosion and Piping: Water permeating through the dam can instigate internal erosion, undermining the structure by creating seepage pathways. Piping, where water transports fine particles, further weakens the dam, underscoring the need for effective internal erosion mitigation strategies.

  • Overtopping Risks: Tailings dams are particularly susceptible to overtopping, where excessive water flow, often due to heavy rainfall, surmounts the dam crest, potentially triggering erosion and failure. This risk is pronounced in the upstream construction method, which is inherently more vulnerable to such incidents.

  • Seepage Management: Controlling water seepage is pivotal to maintaining dam stability. Unchecked seepage can erode the dam from within, emphasizing the critical role of continuous monitoring and maintenance to promptly detect and address seepage issues.

  • Seismic Considerations: The impact of seismic activity on tailings dams cannot be overstated. Earthquake-induced vibrations can compromise the dam's structural integrity, making assessing seismic risks an essential component of dam safety evaluations.

  • Slope Stability: The stability of the dam's slopes is crucial to its overall integrity. Factors such as erosion, saturation, or design deficiencies can precipitate slope failures, highlighting the importance of rigorous slope stability analysis in dam design and maintenance.


Environmental and Regulatory Considerations


  • Mitigating Environmental Pollution: The release of tailings into the environment during dam failures can devastate waterways, soil quality, and biodiversity, underscoring the imperative for stringent tailings management practices.

  • Water Management Efficacy: Water management is vital to mitigate overflow and leakage risks and ensure that tailings dams do not contribute to environmental degradation.

  • Adherence to Regulatory Standards: Mining entities must navigate the delicate balance between economic objectives and environmental stewardship, adhering to stringent regulatory requirements to minimize the environmental footprint of waste disposal.


Incorporating ESG Parameters: With the increasing global focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, tailings dam management transcends technical and operational considerations, aligning with broader sustainability objectives. Integrating ESG parameters involves ensuring the environmental integrity of tailings dams and considering their social implications and governance aspects, fostering transparency, accountability, and community engagement in tailings management practices. This holistic approach mitigates risks and enhances the mining industry's contribution to sustainable development.

Ensuring Permanent Containment


Tailings dams are engineered for long-term containment, requiring ongoing monitoring and management to safeguard against failures. Unlike hydroelectric dams, which can be decommissioned, tailings dams must be maintained indefinitely, necessitating a proactive approach to their care.


Material and Construction Challenges


Constructed from an amalgam of soil, waste, and mining residues, tailings dams are particularly prone to damage arising from their constituent materials and the methodologies employed in their construction. Height increments can amplify the volume of contained wastewater, escalating the pressure on the dam and elevating the risk of failure.


Design and Monitoring Imperatives


The dire consequences of dam failures underscore the imperative for stringent design standards and comprehensive monitoring. Ensuring the application of rigorous design criteria and implementing cost-effective yet thorough monitoring practices are critical to identifying and rectifying potential issues before they escalate.


Tailings Dam Safety and Operations Management with Proqio


Proqio offers a sophisticated platform that transforms the management of tailings dams and mining operations. It integrates versatile data sets from various monitoring technologies for comprehensive data analysis to ensure safety and operational efficiency.


Team Collaboration and Data Access on Proqio


You can build different dashboards for different sites with simplicity on Proqio. It enables the creation of teams, allowing for managing multiple sites under a single platform. This feature ensures relevant stakeholders have tailored access to pertinent data, fostering a collaborative environment. By assigning specific data access to different team members, Proqio ensures that every stakeholder, from engineers to environmental managers, can focus on the most relevant information in their role, enhancing decision-making and operational transparency.


Proqio Project Settings


Advanced Geotechnical Analysis and Report Integration


Proqio from diverse technologies to provide a unified view of tailings dam conditions.  It supports advanced geotechnical calculations and the generation of various reports with simplicity. Users can upload ESG reports, design documents, and other essential data, enabling a holistic approach to tailings dam management. This facilitates a thorough understanding of the dam's condition, aiding in risk assessment and ensuring environmental and safety standards compliance.


Key Monitoring Technologies Integrated by Proqio


Proqio synthesizes data from an array of instruments and technologies, ensuring a robust monitoring framework for tailings dam safety:

  • InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar): This technology provides critical insights into ground deformation, which is vital for monitoring dam stability and detecting potential failure zones.


InSAR and Instrumentation Data


  • Satellite Data: Broad coverage satellite imagery assists in tracking changes across the entire mine site, which is crucial for understanding land cover changes, vegetation growth, or subsidence.


Satellite Data on Proqio


  • Geodetic Monitoring via Automatic Total Stations (ATS) and GNSS: ATS integrates electronic distance and angle measurements for displacement and deformation monitoring. These instruments are essential for detecting subtle movements in the dam structure and enabling timely intervention to prevent failures. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is integral to tailings safety management, offering high-precision positioning and monitoring to detect even the smallest movements of a tailings dam. This geospatial technology provides continuous, accurate displacement monitoring crucial for detecting instability or shifts in the dam structure.

  • LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology creates detailed 3D terrain models, which are essential for assessing dam geometry and stability analysis.


LiDAR Data on Proqio


  • Ground Radar Systems for Surface Monitoring: Deploying ground radar systems enhances a tailings facility's real-time surveillance capabilities. These systems provide an early warning by detecting and reporting potential structural shifts or deformations, enabling preemptive measures to fortify the dam before any issues escalate.

  • Hyperspectral Radar for Material Analysis: Hyperspectral radar systems collect data across various electromagnetic wavelengths to pinpoint specific materials and detect minute changes in surface composition. This capability is integral to assessing tailings dams' health and material integrity.

  • Drones: Offering high-resolution aerial imagery, drones are invaluable for conducting detailed inspections of the dam's surface detecting cracks, erosion, or other potential issues.

  • Fiber Optic Instruments: These sensors provide detailed monitoring of temperature changes, strain, and movement within the dam structure, offering insights into internal conditions.

  • Tailings and Impoundments Reflectance Index (TIRISM): An Innovative Risk Indicator and comprehensive risk assessment tool by AssetAssurance Monitoringthat evaluates factors affecting tailings dam stability, such as design, construction quality, and operational practices, to ascertain overall risk levels using satellite data.

TIRI Data on Proqio


  • Geotechnical Instrumentation: The integration of IoT technology has significantly streamlined the process of tailings dam monitoring. IoT technology diminishes the risk of catastrophic failures by providing continuous, automatic data readings from geotechnical instrumentation embedded within the dam structure. Key instruments are:


Geotechnical and Environmental Instruments on Proqio


  • Piezometers: Crucial for measuring pore water pressure to understand the dam's stability.

  • Tilt Meters: Essential for detecting slope movements and providing early warnings of potential instability.

  • Crack Meters: These are important for monitoring the development of cracks within the dam structure.

  • In-place Inclinometers and Extensometers: Key for assessing lateral movements and deformation within the dam.

  • Vibrating Wire Strain gage monitors in-situ stress changes in the dam structure and can detect stress distributions and variations that may compromise dam integrity.


Proqio's analytical tools and visualizations


Proqio empowers stakeholders to manage and mitigate risks associated with tailing dams.

For analysis and data understanding, Proqio has dynamic tools like:

  • Dynamic Filters: Proqio's filtering capability allows users to sift through vast datasets, focusing on crucial metrics such as construction progress, geotechnical parameters, and safety indicators. This precision filtering aids in isolating significant data points, enabling targeted analysis.

Proqio Filters Setup


  • Heatmaps for Pattern Recognition: Proqio utilizes heatmaps to visually represent data, highlighting areas of concern like high-stress zones or temperature variations across the dam. This visual tool is instrumental in pinpointing potential risk areas that require attention.


Proqio Heatmaps


  • Graphical Insights: Proqio generates comprehensive graphs illustrating trends, correlations, and performance metrics across various data sets. Whether tracking the stability of a dam over time or analyzing convergence rates in tunnels, these graphs offer a visual narrative of the data.


Validating Displacement Data From an Extensometer and InSAR, and Temperature Data from Piezometer and Extensometer


  • Data Models: The platform's data modeling capabilities allow users to construct sophisticated models to conduct calculations for data entered the platform. These models also allow users to perform advanced mathematical operations and regression-based calculations, assess risks, and make informed decisions. These models are vital for proactive management, from estimating the lifespan of infrastructure to simulating different operational scenarios.


Proqio Data Models and Calculations


Advanced Visualizations and Real-Time Monitoring


  • GIS Layer Integration: Proqio's integration with GIS layers enriches the data with geographic context, enabling users to overlay infrastructure data on detailed maps. This spatial insight is crucial for comprehensive site analysis and risk assessment.

  • 3D Mapping and Digital Twins: The platform offers 3D mapping capabilities, allowing users to explore complex structures from multiple angles. Digital twins take this further by creating a virtual replica of the physical asset, providing a powerful tool for real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and scenario testing.


Proqio 3D Maps


  • Real-Time Dashboards: Proqio's real-time dashboards deliver up-to-the-minute data to stakeholders tailored to their roles and responsibilities. This ensures that each team member, from engineers to project managers, can access relevant, actionable insights. Dashboards can be built intuitively with widgets


Proqio Dashboard


Proactive Risk Management with Alerts and Automated Reporting


  • Alerts and Alarms: The system's alert mechanism is critical in risk management, notifying stakeholders of deviations from expected metrics. Whether it's an unexpected movement detected by sensors or a threshold breach in monitoring data, Proqio ensures stakeholders can react promptly to mitigate risks.


Proqio Alerts Panel: Note this is a demo


Proqio Alerts


  • Automated and Scheduled Reporting: Proqio's automated reporting feature informs all stakeholders with regular updates. These reports are customized to meet each user's specific needs, ensuring that essential data is communicated efficiently and effectively.

Proqio Report Templates


By integrating these diverse analytical tools and flexible visualization features, Proqio enhances the understanding of tailings dams' conditions and significantly improves early risk detection and management capacity. As an operator you benefit from early warnings for preventive actions, as a regulator you can transparent data for compliance which takes care of the community’s safety. Proqio’s comprehensive approach ensures that tailings dams are monitored with the highest precision and expertise, safeguarding against potential failures and aligning with the industry's best safety and environmental protection practices.


Note: All data on the images are from Demo Sites and Sample Data in Proqio. You can integrate data from any data source, any manufacturer for your projects need.