Tailings Failure Case Studies, Statistics and Failure Modes – Where Are We? Where Are We Going?

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Tailings Failure Case Studies, Statistics and Failure Modes – Where Are We? Where Are We Going?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Evening Program

5:30 Cocktails and socializing
6:30 Dinner
7:45 Lecture


Public concern over safety of tailings dam facilities is growing as recent tailings dam failures in British Columbia (Canada) in 2014, Buenavista del Cobre, Sonora (Mexico) in 2014 and Bento Rodrigues (Brazil) in 2015, have resulted a significant impact to people and the environment. Breaching of tailings dams often results in the sudden release of water and sediments (tailings).  These recent events, while highly publicized, are not isolated or particularly unique occurrences.  Global record of historical events shows that consequences following these failures have been significant and in some instances catastrophic. Consequences of historical events included loss of life, changes in fluvial geomorphology and slope stability, widespread contamination resulting in loss of terrestrial and aquatic habitat, as well as legal repercussions and lack of public confidence.  This presentation will give an overview of several case studies, the empirical statistics of tailings dam failures as well as the root causes of failure.  Finally, the author will present some thoughts on the state of practice, our responsibilities as practitioners, and some lofty goals for the future.


Mr. D Chad LePoudre, P.Eng., is Vice‑President of Geoscience & Materials Testing at SNC-Lavalin (previously MDH Engineered Solutions). He has 15 years’ experience overseeing many geotechnical and geo‑environmental projects, and 10 years of non-technical roles in construction, sales, management and finance, which contributed to his experience in business and project management.  Mr. LePoudre is also a board member and Past President of the Canadian Dam Association, actively involved in several committees working to advance guidance for dams and tailings dams.   Mr. LePoudre also teaches many workshops on dam inspection, dam and tailings safety management systems, slope stability analysis, and conducting Dam Safety Reviews in compliance with CDA guidance.


Pearson Convention Center
2638 Steeles Avenue East
Brampton, Ontario L6T 4L7 Canada
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905 494 0444


Veronica Ayetan

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