Risk analysis for evaluation of mine impounded water
Mining Engineering, 2016, Vol. 68, No. 12, pp. 33-33
Since 1994 the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has used risk analysis to evaluate dams. Risk considers both the likelihood of failure and the expected consequences should failure occur. Risk analysis relies on the detailed formulation and critical analysis of all possible potential failure modes. Potential failure modes are formulated by describing the sequence of events that must occur to result in failure, where failure is defined as the uncontrolled release of the impounded reservoir. Failure occurs in response to loadings such as water seepage through a dam (static forces), shaking from an earthquake (dynamic forces), sudden flood inflows (hydrologic forces), or accidental overfilling (operational errors). Reclamation has, to a limited extent, applied risk analysis to inactive and abandoned mines to evaluate tailings dams, pit lakes and flooded underground mines. Case histories of potential failure mode analysis, as applied to mine impounded water, illustrate what critical technical information is needed to determine if failure is likely, what the consequences of failure are likely to be, and what are the highest risks that should be addressed first.
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