Consulting Solutions: Dam Breach Tailings Runout Analysis


Dam breach runout analyses are typically performed as part of a risk analysis for a tailings dam breach. This type of analysis is important for providing a basis for calculating the down-stream impacts of a tailings dam failure. The type of tailings may vary by industry (gold, copper, oil-sand, etc.) and thus the potential impact of such a run-out analysis becomes more prominent.

Recent failures of tailings dams have highlighted the importance of this type of analysis. Research in this area has resulted in a number of numerical methods for determining run-out distances. Such numerical methods can generally be quantified into the following categories:

  • Analytical Models
  • Continuum Based Models
  • Particulate Based Models
  • Coupled Continuum-Particulate Based Models
An overview of the Mount Polley tailings pond breach.      PHOTO COURTESY CARIBOO REGIONAL DISTRICT


SoilVision Systems Ltd. has engineers with advanced numerical modeling experience in applying the above approaches for analyzing runout analysis from either an analytical, continuum, particulate, or coupled approach. The application of basic principles allows the solution for each type of scenario with particular tailings to be analyzed in a rigorous manner.

Our company brings to the table expertise of over 18 years in the application of numerical methods to the geotechnical community and engineers with Ph.D. level education with advanced experience in numerical methods.

If you are interested in having our engineers take a look at your particular problem please contact us directly.