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R.M. Hardy Keynote Address by Harvey McLeod
History of Tailings Dam Design and Innovation and Practice Changes Required in the Wake of the Mount Polley Mine Tailings Breach
The design and construction of tailings dams has evolved worldwide over the last 100 years. In British Columbia, major advances occurred since the 1960’s when dam engineering technology was applied to their construction. Since that time, tailings technologies and tailings dam designs have continued to advance in the mining industry. However, in parallel with these advances, there have been increased complexities associated with many factors including: increased consideration of environmental protection and long term sustainability; increases in mining rates, and continued variability in types of tailings and the physiographic, environmental and social settings that mines are constructed in. This paper describes the history of tailings dam design and construction, with emphasis on British Columbia but with examples drawn from international practice. The investigations into the circumstances surrounding the failure of the Mount Polley tailings dam highlighted that practice in design, construction and operation are highly variable and that ongoing innovation and adherence to good practice are required to reduce the risk to the public and the environment. Knowledge and application of Best Available Technologies (BAT) and Best Available Practices (BAP) are not widely disseminated in the industry and are often misapplied. This paper will describe the state of practice for design and the BATs that are available in the design and management of tailings facilities.
Harvey McLeod, P.Eng., P.Geo.
Principal and Vice President Strategic Marketing – Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.

Harvey McLeod is a geotechnical engineer with a B.A.Sc. in Geological Engineering from The University of British Columbia and a Diploma from The University of London – Imperial College in Soil Mechanics. Harvey has been a leader in the evolution and development of mine tailings management practices, and over his 40 year career, he has worked on over 100 tailings dams in more than 20 countries. He is currently the Chairman of International Commission of Large Dams (ICOLD) subcommittee on Tailings Dams and active in the Canadian Dam Association (CDA). He has authored more than 20 technical papers. He was one of the contributing authors to the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of British Columbia’s (APEGBC) Professional Practice Guidelines – Legislated Dam Safety Reviews in BC, March 2014.

In addition to the expertise he has developed in the scientific and engineering aspects of mine waste, Harvey has championed the integration of socio-environmental responsibility with the engineered aspects of tailings and waste rock. Harvey was the recipient of the 2013 Association of Mineral Exploration (AME) – Robert R. Hedley Award for “Excellence in Social and Environmental Sustainability”.

Harvey has been supporting the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) with its investigation into the August 2014 Mount Polley failure, and is working with the CDA, APEGBC, and MEM to incorporate lessons learned from Mount Polley into practice, and to improve guidelines and regulations for tailings dams.

GeoVancouver 2016 will also be featuring the 2016 CGS Colloquium and Graduate Student Paper on October 4, 2016. Further information will be provided at a later date.