Authors: Brett, D; Brown, B


Cite As:
Brett, D & Brown, B 2010, 'Setting a standard for tailings dam management', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Mine Waste 2010: Proceedings of the First International Seminar on the Reduction of Risk in the Management of Tailings and Mine Waste, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 171-180,

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The Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD), is an incorporated voluntary association of organisations and individual professionals with an interest in dams in Australia. ANCOLD was formed in 1937 as the Australian national committee of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), a non- government organisation established in 1928, and is one of 81 member countries. ANCOLD has been instrumental in establishing a high standard of management of dams in Australia. ANCOLD sees the need to assist the mining industry and the community by providing technical advice on appropriate standards for tailings management and to provide a forum for the support of technical development of these structures. As part of this strategy, ANCOLD has established a sub-committee including leading practitioners from consulting, mining academic and regulator backgrounds to review their 1999 Guideline on Tailings Dam Design, Construction and Operation. The scope of the new guidelines has been extended to provide particular guidance on the use of risk assessment techniques to assist decision making in various aspects of tailings dam management and to provide guidance on design issues related to dam closure and post closure performance. These include issues such as consequence assessment, freeboard requirements, seepage control, earthquake design methods and recommended factors of safety, with particular attention to the potential significant difference between tailings dams and conventional water dams. This paper presents preliminary information on progress on the draft guidelines. A final draft document is scheduled for presentation at a tailings specific workshop as part of ANCOLD’s annual conference in November 2010, this will be issued for industry comment in early 2011, with release expected later in the year. Input into the guidelines is sought from persons involved in all aspects of tailings management, particularly from mining companies and regulators, for whom these ANCOLD guidelines may become an important part of operations over the next decade.

AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 (2009) Risk management - Principles and Guidelines.
Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) (2003) Guidelines on Risk Assessment, October.
Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) (1999) Guideline on Tailings Dam Design, Construction
and Operation, October.
Brett, D., Hanslow, B. and Longey, R. (2008) When Is a Dam Not a Dam?, ANCOLD Conference on Dams and water
for the future, Queensland, November.
Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR) (2007) Tailings Management, Leading Practice Sustainable
Development Program for the Mining Industry, February.
International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) (2003) Sustainable Development Framework – Final Principles,
Document Ref: C 020/290503, May.

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