Personnel from the Central and Regional Offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau attended the “Training on Design, Monitoring and Closure of Tailings Storage Facilities” organized by the International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) on June 15-26, 2015 held in Baguio City and in Quezon City. The two-week long training was aimed to increase the technical capability of the MGB in the field of designing and managing tailings storage facilities as well as in the assessment of the stability of said structures and management of environmental impacts brought by the operation of TSF by the mining companies in the country. It has been structured to provide a basic understanding of the key risks, dam types, foundation and construction, operational issues, monitoring and decommissioning of existing dams.  Engr. Adora Matabang and Engr. Mark Anthony Perez, from MGB IV-A attended the said event.

 Professor Ken Mercer from the Australian Centre for Geomechanics and Mr. Bill Biggs from Biggs and Associates discussed several key issues related to the course. They introduced the participants to a comprehensive overview of the requirements for managing tailings facility risk over the mine life cycle and the organizational processes involved in undertaking TSF design, construction and operation. Key topics discussed by the speakers were the establishment of a framework for managing tailings dam risk, basic principles of geomechanics, design process, monitoring and operation of tailings dams, assessment of the stability of the embankments and identification and management of mine closure risk. The participants were also exposed to real life application of what were learned from the seminar through a visit to the two of the biggest tailings storage facilities in the country: TSF 3 of Philex Mining Corporation and TSF 5a of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company. Interactive review of the site visit as well as several case studies such as the case of Marinduque TSF spill were done to test what the delegates have learned and how they could avoid another disaster in the future. Realizations were made among the participants on the process of monitoring and assessing such huge structures.

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Numerical Modelling Workshop for TSF

To familiarize the participants on the use of modern softwares to tailings dam stability analysis, Professor Mercer introduced modelling simulations and stability assessments using SoilVision. It offers 2-D and 3-D numerical modelling solutions to typical mining related problems such as slope stability analysis, tailings consolidation, mine tailings water balance, regional water flow and cover design analysis. Delegates from the MGB and in the academe took part in the two-day training held at Microtel, UP – AyalaLand Technohub in Quezon City. They were given introductory exercises on seepage simulation, basic stability assessment, upstream and downstream TSF construction and Complex Water Dam design.

 Mr. Rodolfo Velasco, MSESDD Chief of the MGB expressed his heartfelt gratitude in behalf of the agency to the organizers and speakers of the event and encouraged the participants to apply the concepts they have learned from the training.

IM4DC is an agency established by the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland in partnership with the Australian Government through an Australian Aid Initiative. It has conducted various capacity building workshops in the country for the past years.

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