The rate of failure of tailings dams is higher than for traditional water-retaining dams, owing to several factors including continual raising, and in some cases less rigorous construction methods or supervision than for normal water-retaining dams, especially in low-income countries. The consequences of water dam failures can be equally catastrophic than those of tailings dams, as we have seen with a recent breach at Tiware dam in India.
There is an evident need for a cost-effective means of monitoring both operational and abandoned dams, especially those in remote locations, to help forecast potentially catastrophic failures and minimise their devastating effects. DAMSAT could help by alerting authorities of problems with structures before they fail, thus reducing the risks to those living downstream of dams.
The project aims to:
- support the reduction of the social, economic and environmental impacts of water and tailings dams and other storage facilities failures in two areas in Peru, in the regions of Cajamarca and Cerro de Pasco;
- influence the adoption of Earth Observation monitoring tools for dams and tailings storage facilities by engaging with key stakeholders;
- provide key stakeholders with an operational service to support the decision-making process to reduce the probability of failure of water and tailings dams or other tailings storage facilities, and its potential impacts downstream.