Spring 2012

Storage of mine tailings assured

The retaining wall around a basin containing mining waste (tailings) at the Compañía Minera Antamina in Peru will be fitted with TenCate GeoDetect®. This system monitors the condition of embankments and dykes and registers every change, thus making it possible to prevent a dyke breach and to ensure that the storage is safe.

Compañía Minera Antamina is one of the ten largest mining companies in the world. And here zinc, molybdenum, silver, lead and other minerals are mined. This is said to be the highest tailings basin in the world (3600 metres above sea level) and its collection capacity is 550 million tons of mining waste, which may under no circumstances seep out and end up in the environment. For this reason a wide dam has been built around the basin, in which TenCate GeoDetect® has been fitted.

The dam is at least 250 metres in height, making it one of the highest retaining walls in the world. In total more than six kilometres of dam will be fitted with TenCate GeoDetect® at this location. The installation is being carried out by the engineering firm of Golder Associates. Olivier Artières, global technology manager at TenCate Geosynthetics, was on site to supervise the installation. ‘This is the largest project using TenCate GeoDetect® in 2011.’

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)