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Tailings Dam Safety

Settling basins are dam structures licensed and regulated through Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Department (ESRD), Alberta Environment Dam Safety Branch and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). Designs comply with Alberta Dam Safety Branch standards, and guidelines of the Canadian Dam Association (CDA) and Mining Association of Canada.

Around 3,000 instruments are in place to monitor our tailings structures and up to $11 million is spent annually on their maintenance and installation.

 

All designs are reviewed by an external Geotechnical Review Board (GRB). CDA guidelines also require a dam safety review to be conducted for each structure by an independent external consultant every five to seven years. In addition, staff conduct formal inspections each quarter and informal inspections throughout the year. Regulators also conduct their own inspections, typically on an annual basis. Procedures are tested in simulations and table top exercises.

Around 3,000 instruments are in place to monitor our tailings structures and up to $11 million is spent annually on their maintenance and installation.

Interceptor ditches and sumps collect and pump seepage or precipitation run-off back into the pond. We also maintain a network of surface water sampling points and groundwater monitoring wells to ensure tailings water does not impact local watercourses. For example, there are 170 wells throughout the Mildred Lake mine site area alone monitoring environmental compliance.