Tailings Dams

Tailings dams are among the largest and most critical artificial structures in the world. Their analysis requires careful evaluation of all components and loading conditions. Itasca has performed detailed design and stability analyses for major tailing dams. Each analysis has been reviewed by experts representing governing authorities. Although every tailings dam analysis is unique, Itasca analyses typically include the following:

  • collection and review of site topographic and geotechnical data,
  • specification and supervision of laboratory tests to determine static and dynamic properties of tailings, foundation, and dam construction materials,
  • selection of material models and calibration of material parameters to match laboratory test data,
  • development of numerical models that simulate the continuous construction nature of mine tailings dams,
  • analyses to represent the changes in pore pressure brought about by tailings consolidation and fluid flow over time,
  • evaluation of static safety factors using the shear strength reduction technique,
  • dynamic analysis of stability and liquefaction potential due to seismic loading, and
  • recommendations for monitoring to insure design assumptions are achieved.

In addition to design analysis, Itasca has been involved in proposing standards for mining operations in seismically active areas, geotechnical investigations of tailings dam failures, and technical seminars to share experience and expertise. Selected examples of Itasca tailings dam projects can be seen in the following table.

Tailings Dam Country
Pera Jusante y Gelado Brazil
Assarel Medet Bulgaria
Ellatzite Bulgaria
El Mauro Chile
El Morro Chile
Laguna Seca Chile
Lautaro Chile
Mantos Blancos Chile
Ovejería Chile
Pampa Pabellón Chile
Quillayes Chile
Santo Domingo Chile
Sierra Gorda Chile
Torito Chile
Tórtolas Chile
Pampa Austral Chile
Porvenir Perú
Quebrada Honda Perú
South Maybe Canyon USA
Latest News
  • Workshop: The “Big Five”: Numerical Modeling of Cave Mining This MassMin2020 workshop will review caveability, ground subsidence, infrastructure stability, fragmentation, and gravity flow associated...
    Read More
  • 2020 H. Bolton Seed Lecture: Open Issues about Soil Liquefaction Dr. Bruce L. Kutter delivered the 2020 H. Bolton Seed Lecture at Geo-Congress 2020 in...
    Read More
  • Webinar: Using Rigid Blocks in PFC This webinar will provide a brief overview of PFC modeling using convex rigid blocks, including...
    Read More

Upcoming Events
1 Dec
WEBINAR: What’s New in 3DEC Version 7
This webinar is for people who have used 3DEC before and are interested in the latest developments.... Read More
4 Dec
Analyses of Embankment Dams and Slopes Using FLAC
This hands-on, virtual training course is 16 hours total, spread over four days in a 1.5-week period, and covers the analysis of embank... Read More
8 Mar
FLAC3D Remote Introductory Training - Online!
Three days of general feature training addressing basic concepts and recommended procedures for geotechnical numerical analysis.... Read More