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Figure 2.17: Construction of a tailings dam with lining in Perth, Western Australia (Cape Crushing, 2013)
2.3
ANCOLD consequence category
ANCOLD have developed a Dam Failure Consequence Category used to determine various
design and operational requirements depending on the severity of failure of the dam. The
consequence category is determined by “…evaluating the consequences of dam failure with
release of water and tailings through a risk assessment process”. The assessment includes
damage to business, society, the environment, and its impact on human health. Each of the
aforementioned failure methods would have different consequences throughout the life of a
dam; for example, “erosion would be readily repaired during operation but could become a
potential mechanism for large-scale failure post-closure when limited maintenance is likely”
(ANCOLD, 2012). It is therefore necessary to analyse such dams to assess the likelihood of
each type, or mechanism, of damage arising: the use of risk assessment and statistical
methods at each stage of a dam’s life, including post-closure, is recommended.
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