Engineering & Mining Journal

FEB 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

Issue link: https://emj.epubxp.com/i/1082268

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 3 of 75

2 E&MJ • FEBRUARY 2019 FROM THE EDITOR Tragically, it's happened again. Another tailings dam has failed at an iron mining operation in Brazil. This time it's Vale's Corrego do Feijão mine near Brumadinho. The death toll is staggering (See News, p. 4). Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the iron ore miners in Minas Gerais and all the people who suffered a loss. From an engineering standpoint, this is totally unaccept- able. The environmental impact this time is not as severe as the Samarco collapse near Mariana in 2015, when satel- lites tracked an orange plume through Brazil's countryside until it eventually fouled the Atlantic Ocean, but it's a ma- jor environmental calamity nonetheless. Another difference between this event and other past tailings dam failures is that this one has been captured on video. And, it's scary. The video basically shows a tail- ings tsunami erupting from the base of the dam and quickly wiping out the surface facilities at the mine, including a cantina where many miners were reportedly eating lunch. They had seconds to react. This video should be mandatory viewing for every mining engineer and geotechnical engineer, especially those building tailings dams. Earthen dams are designed to transmit liquid. When an earthen dam contains too much liquid, it runs the risk of failure by liquefaction. Investigators found lique- faction to be a part of the cause for the Samarco failure. Vale has had a little more than three years to get its house in order. With what has happened now, Vale will have a hard time convincing Brazilians it was taking dam safety seriously. The blame game is in full swing. The media is reporting that independent in- spectors from TÜV SÜD do Brasil had warned Vale that faulty water drainage and monitoring systems at the Feijão dam represented a serious risk. A report submitted prior to the incident, according to local media, said the inspectors could not proper- ly assess the dam's stability because they were unable to accurately monitor water levels and drainage, but they signed off on it anyway. TÜV SÜD do Brasil certifi ed the dam as stable in September 2018. After the collapse, three Vale employees and two TÜV SÜD do Brasil engineers were arrested and later released. Based in Munich, Germany, TÜV SÜD is an independent inspection/auditing fi rm and Europeans associate its symbol with quality work. In 2013, it purchased Bureau de Projetos e Consultoria Ltda., a Brazilian engineering fi rm that focused on environmental management services for the rehabilitation of industrial lands. Immediately after the incident, the management board and supervisory board for TÜV SÜD initiated extensive investigations, which are ongoing. At the same time, Korn Ferry, an international consulting company, working with Vale's Board of Directors has appointed former Minister of the Federal Supreme Court Dr. Ellen Gracie as chairperson of its Extraordinary Independent Consult- ing Committee for Investigation (CIAEA). Vale established the CIAEA to determine the causes and potential responsibilities for the Feijão breach. Separately, Vale announced it has retained counsel and that law fi rm has assembled four outside experts who will provide an assessment of the technical causes of the rupture. Tragic events like these can bankrupt a mining company. Vale was the fourth largest mining company based on its market capitalization prior to this incident. For Brazil, all mining represents about 2% of its gross domestic product and iron ore revenues amount to about $2.3 billion annually. Vale is a large rural employer. The people of Brazil are already weighing the value of those jobs against its costs in lives and environmental damage. Only time will tell how this plays out. Another Tailings Dam Bursts Steve Fiscor Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Steve Fiscor, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief sfi scor@mining-media.com Mining Media International, Inc. 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306; Jacksonville, Florida 32224 USA Phone: +1.904.721.2925 / Fax: +1.904.721.2930 Editorial Publisher & Editor-In-Chief—Steve Fiscor, sfi scor@mining-media.com Associate Editor—Jennifer Jensen, jjensen@mining-media.com Technical Writer—Jesse Morton, jmorton@mining-media.com Contributing Editor—Russ Carter, rcarter@mining-media.com Latin American Editor—Oscar Martinez, omartinez@mining-media.com South African Editor—Gavin du Venage, gavinduvenage@gmail.com Graphic Designer—Tad Seabrook, tseabrook@mining-media.com Sales Midwest/Eastern U.S. & Canada, Sales—Victor Matteucci, vmatteucci@mining-media.com Western U.S., Canada & Australia, Sales—Frank Strazzulla, fstrazzulla@mining-media.com Scandinavia, UK & European Sales—Colm Barry, colm.barry@telia.com Germany, Austria & Switzerland Sales—Gerd Strasmann, info@strasmann-media.de Japan Sales—Masao Ishiguro, ma.ishiguro@w9.dion.ne.jp Production Manager—Dan Fitts, dfi tts@mining-media.com Marketing Manager—Misty Valverde, mvalverde@mining-media.com www.e-mj.com Engineering & Mining Journal, Volume 220, Issue 2, (ISSN 0095-8948) is published monthly by Mining Media International, Inc., 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224 (mining-media.com). Periodicals Postage paid at Jacksonville, FL, and additional mailing offi ces. Canada Post Publi- cations Mail Agreement No. 41450540. Canada return address: PO Box 2600, Mississauga ON L4T 0A8, Email: circulation@mining-media.com. Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calendar, are available at www.e-mj.com. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualifi ed subscrib- ers. Visit www.e-mj.com to subscribe. Non-qualifi ed persons may subscribe at the following rates: USA & Canada, 1 year, $90. Outside the USA & Can- ada, 1 year, $150. For subscriber services or to order single copies, contact E&MJ, c/o Stamats Data Management, 615 Fifth Street SE, Cedar Rapids IA 52401, 1-800-553-8878 ext. 5028 or email subscriptions@e-mj.com. ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services, including Factiva, LexisNexis, and Proquest. For mi- croform availability, contact ProQuest at 800-521-0600 or +1.734.761.4700, or search the Serials in Microform listings at www.proquest.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to E&MJ, 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224-2659. REPRINTS: Mining Media International, Inc., 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224 USA; email: subscriptions@e-mj.com; phone: +1.904.721.2925, fax: +1.904.721.2930; www.mining-media.com. PHOTOCOPIES: Authorization to photocopy articles for internal corporate, personal, or instructional use may be obtained from the Copyright Clear- ance Center (CCC) at +1.978.750.8400. Obtain further information at copyright.com. EXECUTIVE OFFICE: Mining Media International, Inc., 11655 Central Park- way, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224 USA phone: +1.904.721.2925, fax: +1.904.721.2930, www.mining-media.com. COPYRIGHT 2019: Engineering & Mining Journal, incorporating World Mining Equipment, World Min- ing and Mining Equipment International. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Tragically, it's happened again. Another tailings dam has failed at an iron mining operation in Brazil. This time it's Vale's Corrego do Feijão mine near Brumadinho. The death toll is staggering (See News, p. 4). Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the iron ore miners in Minas Gerais and all the people who suffered a loss. From an engineering standpoint, this is totally unaccept- able. The environmental impact this time is not as severe

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Engineering & Mining Journal - FEB 2019