Safe management of tailing may be the single most important way to minimize the environmental impact of a mine. Tailing facilities pose risks that must be carefully managed from a mine’s initial design until long after its closure. The Mount Polley dam breach in August of 2014 significantly heightened awareness of these risks in British Columbia, Canada, and internationally. In response to the breach, the provincial government, together with the Williams Lake Indian Band and the Soda Creek Indian Band, ordered an independent review panel to conduct an engineering investigation into the event.
An outcome of this investigation (August 2015) was the review panel’s recommendation that new tailing facilities implement Best Available Technology (BAT) for tailing facilities.
In response to the findings and recommendations of the Report, Seabridge commissioned a leading geoscience and engineering consulting firm to undertake a Best Available Tailings Technology (BATT) review to ensure the proposed KSM TMF will be utilizing the safest and most reliable technology. This study was initiated in 2015, well after the receipt of the environmental assessment approvals that approved the existing KSM TMF design in 2014.
The BATT study confirmed that the permitted TMF design at KSM, consisting of a centerline dam with wet tailings deposition, is the best available technology for tailings deposition and the most environmentally responsible design to minimize long-term risks associated with its operation and closure.
The BATT study conclusion also confirms the findings from the IGRB that the TMF’s design is robust and appropriate for KSM’s site-specific characteristics.
Seabridge also commissioned an independent review of the BATT report by Dr. Dirk van Zyl, a world-recognized expert in tailings, mined earth structures and sustainability with more than 40 years of experience. He also sat on the Mount Polley Independent Expert Review Panel
In his review, Dr. van Zyl concluded: “I support the overall conclusions of the KSM BATT report.”