Each mine has several areas of high geotechnical risk, that each require dedicated iterative assessment. Tailings dams pose a special category of risk. Because of environmental issues in the recent past, most mining experts are now looking for continuous monitoring systems to predict instability better.
Solid tailings are often used as part of the structure itself and with the tailings being liquid or a slurry of fine particles groundwater, significant instabilities arise in a variety of ways that are usually not completely understood.
With InSAR we can help this understanding: we characterize and quantify these time-dependent degradation processes on a wide area scale and identify different dynamic patterns. Monitoring these patterns continuously is now a proven permanent risk management method.
The deployment approach of remote and local sensors is different for any of the three raised tailings dam designs, the upstream, downstream and centerline.