Tailing Dam

Exposed and covered liner integrity testing at Tailing Dam – Gold mining

A tailings dam is typically an earth-fill embankment dam used to store byproducts of mining operations after separating the ore from the gangue. Stored tailings can be liquid, solid or slurry of fine particles and are usually highly toxic.

Therefore a protection of environment surrounding the tailing dam should be the highest priority. To stop leaking toxic material from tailing dam to its sub-grade and then contaminate the groundwater SENSOR DDS® technology should be used. Testing integrity of sealing layer of a tailing dam after its installation to detect and locate the leaks we use Arc Tester – SENSOR DDS® MIT. For testing geomembrane integrity after placing an overliner (gravel) we use Sensor’s dipole testing kit SENSOR DDS® Mobile.

Arc Tester – SENSOR DDS® MIT and SENSOR DDS® Mobile dipole survey

General project info:

  • Area tested was 283 000m²
  • Single layer of HDPE 1.5mm geomembrane installed
  • Protective layer: 500mm gravel
  • For exposed liner testing Arc Tester SENSOR DDS® MIT was used
  • For covered liner testing SENSOR DDS® Mobile was used

During the testing of bare geomembrane integrity at Tailing dam at gold mine’s project we have detected and located 132 holes in total. Most of them represented cuts or weak extrusion welding. However holes caused by cigarette burns were also very frequent damage. The average productivity at this project was 9 500 m² per day per operator. We have visited site multiple times following the progress of geomembrane installation.

The installation of the overliner (drainage protective layer of gravel) took place after whole area of geomembrane was tested using Sensor DDS® technology. The total damage found during our testing was 102. The most common damage (more then 50%) was so called puncture from above caused by gravel penetrating through the liner from above. This happens when heavy machinery places the protective overlier onto the geomembrane and is pressing on it by its weight. When it turns sharply it also usually and creates a large tears or cracks in geomembrane.

We have helped the client to save a lot of problems and money by identifying these future leaks now. It’d be very expensive and technically difficult to repair these leaks when Tailing Dam would be in full operation.

Some photos from the SENSOR DDS® surveys at various Gold’s mine Tailing Dams

Toto nie je tailing dam

SENSOR DDS® Mobile methodology can detect even multiple leaks when surveying on top of the drainage overliner

At this Tailing Dam the thickness of protective overliner was 600mm

At large scale projects we deploy more operators to perform SENSOR DDS® survey so your project is never late

When testing high slopes, the daily coverage of one operator is naturally slightly less then usual but we deploy more operators to complete the project on time

When anomaly is detected with SENSOR DDS® Mobile dipole, area of approximately 3x3m is excavated

Such damage can be caused only by sharp turn of the heavy truck on top of overliner. Luckily SENSOR DDS® technology can effectively detect it during testing

On the slopes our operators always use safety harness during testing with SENSOR DDS® MIT or SENSOR DDS® Mobile