Earthquakes are one of the main external causes behind tailings dams failures. Depending on the severity of an earthquake, cracks and breaches will either cause the dams to fail immediately, or affect the stability of the tailings structure.
Seismic waves (elastic waves in the earth) play a large part in the extent of damage to the dams. Lower seismic waves produce low frequencies within the tailings reservoir, which cause larger deformation and critical displacement volumes of tailings. The excess pore pressures cannot be dissipated quickly enough, and the dams eventually succumb to failure. If the stacking material of the tailings dams is relatively loose, under the seismic load of an earthquake, they can be damaged relatively easily.
When tailings dams fail, the environment, economy, and local infrastructure will be adversely affected. On top of dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake, the community will have to assess the impact of the dam failure. Time and resources will have to be spent, leading to a financial cost and disruptions to business.
Furthermore, mercury is still widely used in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Toxic mercury used in gold extraction places enormous health risks on the local communities and damages the environment. It poisons miners and places the entire mining operation at a constant risk of danger.
Clean Earth Technologies has a solution for all of this. With an eco-friendly and non-toxic solution to eliminate the need for tailings dams entirely, our award-winning gold recovery agent can fully replace the use of mercury in mining and remediate mercury contamination in previously conducted alluvial mining activities. Our process also releases stranded assets that have been laid dormant or restricted because of cyanide and mercury bans.