Tailings dam safety inventory and semiquantitative risk analysis

About this project

client
Nutrien
location
Saskatchewan
cost
$60,000
completion date
2021

Seeking to inform future decision making related to risk mitigation and environmental stewardship, Nutrien retained Barr to complete a system inventory and semiquantitative risk analysis (SQRA) for its more than 100 earthen dike segments across six potash mines in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Barr first completed an inventory of each dike noting their differing history, physical characteristics, operations, and failure consequences. With established background, Barr then developed a SQRA system to analyze fine tailings and brine containment dikes. Risk for each tailings segment was identified as the product of the relative probability, relative consequence, and uncertainty. A recommended risk response level was determined for various ranges of risk score to allow prioritization of resources and inform recommended actions for ongoing analysis, monitoring, inspections, and other activities to manage the risk associated with each dike. These recommendations consider current Nutrien practices, industry guidelines, and facility approvals to operate.

Inventory and results of the SQRA were then paired with Nutrien’s tailings management objectives to identify dike segments that were priorities for further investigation or in need of analysis or improvements to conform with current risk management approaches. With this SQRA, Nutrien can prioritize the implementation of resources and focused improvements to continue alignment with regulatory requirements and internal company objectives.

Read the May 2022 issue of Mining Engineering Magazine to learn more about this project.

Key team members

Art Kalmes

Vice President
Senior Civil Engineer

Billy Dehler

Senior Geotechnical Engineer

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