The Mareesburg tailing dam is part of Der Brochen Project Platinum Mine located in South Africa in the Limpopo province. The mine is spread over 2,129 ha and is owned by Anglo American Platinum. The immediate area around Mareesburg is rapidly developing into a major mining district with platinum and chrome mining currently underway and a number of new platinum mines under design. Mareesburg tailings storage facility is an expansion to the current mine infrastructure to allow storage of tailing material pumped via penstock pipelines from the Mototolo Operation Concentrator where the ore is processed. Mareesburg is a hillside tailing storage facility of 115 metres height and a maximum footprint area of 133 ha capable to store 65 million m3 of tailings material. In order to safeguard the tailing dam and maintain integrity and safety at the mining site, 8 km of Hydro & Geo sensing cable for strain and temperature monitoring were laid during dam construction below the geo membrane liner within the bedding layer. The Hydro & Geo cable does simultaneously both deformation and seepage detection allowing strains monitoring at the liner/foundation interface below the dam and seepage monitoring through any liner defects. Measurements are carried out automatically and fed into the data acquisition software able to show the results remotely and to trigger alerts (relays, SCADA, SMS, mail or phone call) in case of critical events.
“Tailings dams are crucial and their monitoring for any issues is imperative. Fibre optic cable technology can enable near real-time measurement and analysis data to understand structural movements, long-term deformation or creeps into dam foundations. Understanding dam performance and structural integrity will be crucial to monitor risks and maintaining safe operations. Fibre optics are an important part of mining and allow us the intangible benefits of being able to observe things the human eye cannot deep in our mining operations. Already, this hero technology is being deployed at operations around the world and the importance of the role of fibre optics will increase as we continue to understand and develop their potential.” Anglo American Platinum
Distributed Temperature Strain Sensing equipment