Tag Archives: tailings storage facilities

Cyient to support rollout of Decipher’s cloud-based TSF monitoring platform

Cyient, a global engineering, manufacturing, and digital transformation and technology solutions company, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Decipher, a Perth-based company that provides a cloud monitoring and governance platform for tailing storage facilities.

As per the MoU, Cyient will support Decipher with the global rollout of its cloud mining platform for tailings and rehabilitation monitoring, it said.

Tailing storage facility failures that cause an uncontrolled release of water, waste material, or by-product constitute a significant environmental risk, Cyient says. With a cloud mining platform, mining companies will be able to replace manual processes and siloed data with a more robust and secure cloud platform that adheres to the latest industry best practices and compliance requirements.

Cyient and its subsidiary, IG Partners, will be playing a significant role in selling, implementing, and supporting the solution as it advances, Cyient said.

Speaking at the MoU signing, Herman Kleynhans, Sector Head for Mining, Cyient, said: “Decipher’s end-to-end solution and deep understanding of TSF monitoring and governance, combined with Cyient’s technical depth and global reach, will bring immense value to our mining customers. This partnership will also allow us to make a positive environmental and safety impact on communities engaged in mining operations around the world.”

Decipher’s CEO, Anthony Walker, added: “The reach and experience of Cyient, a leading global player, will greatly support the uptake of the solution for customers worldwide. The remarkable strides taken by the Global Industry Tailings Standard in challenging and leading the industry needs the support and systems that Decipher can deliver. We are delighted that Cyient and its subsidiary, IG Partners, have joined hands with us to make this collaboration a success.”

Decipher to help miners align with new tailings storage facility standards

Wesfarmers-owned software-as-a-service company, Decipher, says it has extended its successful TSF cloud platform to provide a solution to simplify the process of tailings storage facility (TSF) data disclosure as well as helping companies align with the new global tailings standard.

The recent Global Standard on Tailings Management was launched on the August 5, 2020. The historic agreement includes six topic areas, 15 principles and 77 auditable requirements, which covers the entire TSF lifecycle – from site selection, design and construction, management and monitoring, through to closure and post-closure.

With an ambition of zero harm to people and the environment, the standard significantly raises the bar for the industry to achieve strong social, environmental and technical outcomes by elevating accountability to the highest organisational levels and adds new requirements for independent oversight, Decipher says.

“These recent initiatives have encouraged mining companies to respond quickly to public demand for more transparency which has highlighted the need for a software solution which can improve tailings data management, reporting, monitoring, compliance and governance,” the company said.

This is where Decipher’s technology comes into play.

Decipher Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Walker, said the resources industry is actively seeking easily implemented, cost effective and globally accessible solutions.

“The early adoption from Tier 1 miners and general interest has been phenomenal indicating that there is a real need for a TSF data disclosure solution; it excites us that our technology platform can be leveraged to support better management and monitoring of tailings storage facilities,” he said.

Topic Area VI of the new standard requires operators to support public disclosure of information about tailings facilities, and participate in global initiatives to create standardised, independent, industry-wide and publicly accessible information about facilities. For example, the recent Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative called upon 727 extractive mining companies to make public disclosures about their TSFs to form an independent global database – The Global Tailings Portal, developed by GRID-Arendal.

Due to manual processes, and often disparate and siloed datasets, mining operators have estimated it took them around six weeks per site to collate their tailings data, according to Decipher. “With many operators having well over 50 sites, this process is challenging and surfaced many inefficiencies,” it said.

After hearing these frustrations from the industry, Decipher designed a tailings database solution to help companies easily capture, manage and disclose tailings data, enabling them to meet data provision requests from industry groups such as the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, it said.

Decipher has also been working closely with GRID-Arendal to create an API to facilitate automatic update of tailings data within the Decipher platform directly to the Global Tailings Portal.

“We believe this will significantly increase efficiency and provide a massive time savings for mining operators who choose to disclose regularly,” the company said.

Topic Area III of the standard aims to lift the performance bar for designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, monitoring, and closing facilities.

Recognising tailings facilities are dynamic engineered structures, this topic area requires the ongoing use of an updated knowledge base, consideration of alternative tailings technologies, and a comprehensive monitoring system.

“Decipher’s TSF solution is trusted by environmental, tailings, geotechnical and management teams globally to help improve monitoring, compliance, reporting, operational visibility and safety,” the company said. “The platform brings together data from laboratories, IoT devices, LiDAR, CCTV, drones, inspections and remotely-sensed platforms to serve users with up-to-date information to provide key data and insights, enabling teams to effectively monitor, govern and operate their TSFs.”

Armed with Decipher’s Tailings Database solution, Decipher says. customers can:

  • Comply and meet requests for data provision from industry groups such as COE, ICMM, UNEP, PRI, Global Tailings Review and more, with fields embedded for simple reporting and tracking;
  • Store an endless variety of tailings data in one location which is otherwise managed by a number of teams in disparate systems;
  • Operate with increased confidence knowing required data is being collected and monitored;
  • Easily visualise their operational TSF data on the map;
  • Cluster data into key areas such as safety, risk, compliance, construction, design, roles and responsibilities;
  • Assign actions and tasks for data collection with a register and audit trail of all actions and respective statuses to monitor progress, and reminder and escalation notifications;
  • View dam data across multiple sites in a single screen with the ability to easily export for reporting;
  • Facilitate automatic updates to databases and portals based on integration capabilities with third-party systems or public portals;
  • View spatial visualisation to display tailings dams in proximity to surrounding environment and communities;
  • Better align with standard such as the Global Tailings management; and
  • Access custom reports.

Decipher and K2fly team up for new tailings storage facility platform

Decipher, a Perth-based cloud monitoring platform for tailing storage facilities (TSFs), has partnered with K2fly, a global provider of technical assurance solutions for the resources industry, to evaluate an integrated monitoring and governance platform for tailings.

Tailing storage facility failures, in which there is an uncontrolled release of water, waste material or by-product, constitute a significant risk for industry, regulators and the environment. Industry best practice and legislation is requiring that an Independent Technical Review Board be assigned for each TSF to ensure proper governance and compliance, according to Decipher.

Decipher and K2Fly have come together to combine their complementary technology strengths to create a solution to help mining and resources companies in monitoring and governance of these risks, Decipher says.

Anthony Walker, Decipher Chief Executive Officer, said the resources industry is now looking for a solution that is cost effective, comprehensive and accessible.

“A recent report by KPMG identifies tailings management as one of the top 10 risks in 2020 to the global mining industry,” Walker said. “This is confirmation of the need for a timely solution which, together, Decipher and K2fly can provide.”

K2fly’s Chief Commercial Officer, Nic Pollock, said the proposed solution will ensure industry has access to a significantly better tool to aid monitoring and governance of TSFs to recognised standards.

“Our solution reflects best practice and will support compliance with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management recently endorsed by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), and other Global Tailings Review convenors, as well as standards set by national regulatory bodies,” Pollock said.

Decipher and K2fly have commenced discussions with several global miners about the proposed tailings management solution, which can also be deployed remotely during COVID-19.

There are an estimated 3,500 active TSFs globally, covering around 1 Mha of land, Decipher, a Wesfarmers company, said.

CAML talks tailings technology in inaugural sustainability report

Central Asia Metals Ltd’s (CAML) first sustainability report highlighted just how far the base metal producer is going to improve safety, reduce its environmental impact and stand out from the rest of AIM-listed mining crowd.

CAML has long been recognised as the most generous dividend payer on the AIM Mining stage, in London, and, COVID-19 impacts aside, it looks like retaining this reputation into the future.

Its technology credentials are less well known, though, and belie its less than $300 million market capitalisation.

In addition to being brave enough to apply in-situ leaching technology to what was viewed as legacy ‘copper waste’ at Kounrad, in Kazakhstan, the company was the first company to use solvent extraction and electrowinning in the country when it started successfully operating the dump leaching operations in 2012, according to CEO Nigel Robinson.

The company, in 2017, acquired the Sasa zinc-lead-silver underground mine in north Macedonia, to complement Kounrad, and it is this asset that will be subject of much of the company’s future innovations.

The just published sustainability report showed, in 2019, Sasa lowered its net water consumption by a substantial 43% thanks to a recycling initiative the company previously put in place.

This saw the percentage of contact and recycled waters used in its flotation plant go from 0 to 47%, equating to a reduction of freshwater abstraction for the flotation plant from 90 l/s at the start of 2019 to 48 l/s at the end of the year, it said.

From this year onwards, the Sasa team intends to continue to maximise the use of recycled waters wherever possible, it said.

Related to water, the company is also, like many miners across the sector, evaluating the future of its tailings dams.

CAML manages five tailings storage facilities (TSF) at Sasa, all of which are constructed using the downstream technique, widely viewed in the industry as the safest design. Construction of the newest dam, TSF4, was completed in 2019, with this now the main active facility.

Yet, with tailings deposition creeping up over the last few years (733,021 t was deposited last year, compared with 718,303 t in 2018 and 709,989 t in 2017), it looks like the newest facility, which holds 4.5-5 Mt, could hit its capacity in 2025/2026.

During 2019, the Sasa operations team completed a life of mine study to determine the optimal mining method for the operation going forward and, based on the study, the board took the decision, in principle, to change the mining method to cut and fill stoping.

This method – deemed more appropriate both in terms of its operational benefits and environmental and social impacts – would see the voids created from mining underground filled with a paste comprised, in part, of process plant tailings.

“Initial estimations suggest that over 40% of Sasa’s life of mine tailings could be stored underground,” the company said in the report, meaning the construction of future downstream tailings storage facilities would not be required.

Yet, on top of this, dry stacking is also being weighed up, according to Robinson.

“The likely solution is using at least 40% of future tailings as part of the paste backfill, plus utilising the full capacity of the recently constructed facility and then dry stack tailings as well,” he told IM, adding that the company was still carrying out technical studies on these aspects. These studies were scheduled for completion in the second half of the year.

Lastly on the Sasa TSF, CAML said its Sustainability Director, in 2019, attended a conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where a draft of the proposed Global Tailings Standard was presented.

The International Council on Mining and Metals, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment co-convened the Global Tailings Review in February 2019 to establish this international TSF standard following the tailings dam failure at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, earlier that year.

The draft standard was made available for public consultation in November 2019, but the publication of the full standard was recently postponed following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Having reviewed the proposed standard internally, CAML said its intention, in 2020, was for Sasa to be audited externally relative to this standard.

At the underground mine, itself, CAML is investing in a Wi-Fi communications backbone to improve health and safety and operational efficiencies at the mine, Robinson said. This will allow the company to know where each machine is at any given time and, in terms of efficiency, “we’ll be able to monitor utilisation much more accurately and, therefore, identify areas for improvement”, he added.

Another development that could both boost efficiency and safety at the mine, is the introduction of remotely-operated LHDs.

Robinson said two Epiroc ST7 Scooptrams from its existing fleet were being fitted with ‘line of sight’ capabilities to enable personnel to stay outside of the machine and operate the vehicles in areas that may be susceptible to rockfalls and other hazards.