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Tailings Management

Tailings Management

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Safe management of tailings is one of Seabridge Gold’s top priorities. The design, construction and operation of KSM Project’s Tailings Management Facility (TMF) has been specifically engineered to be stable under all conditions, including earthquakes, and to comply with the highest standards of static stability. To minimize surface disturbance and potential environmental impacts, the construction and operation of KSM’s TMF will occur in stages.

Seabridge is strongly committed to building and managing Tailings Management Facility (TMF) based on industry-leading best practices and best available technologies. The design criteria for KSM tailings dams are based on the Canadian Dam Association (CDA) guidelines and take into consideration historical regional data, climate change models, seismic conditions and other potential hazards to create robust and stable designs. 

Location

The KSM Project’s TMF is located in the upper reaches of the Bell Irving River Basin. After completing an extensive alternative assessment that examined 14 different sites and consulting with local indigenous groups, the location was selected for being the most secure site for operability and closure perspectives, and for being the best location from an environmental and waste management approach. 

The KSM Project's TMF Location

The TMF is planned to be constructed in three cells:

  • The North (first 26 years of production) and South Cells to hold flotation tailings that will not be acid generating
  • A lined Central Cell for the Carbon in Leach (CIL) residue tailings, estimated to amount to 10% of the total volume of tailings. The CIL residue tailings will be deposited under water in the CIL Residue Storage Cell located in the center of the TMF.

Key Aspects of TMF

  • Permitted after an independent joint Canada / BC harmonized environmental assessment review and under the Canadian Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations, Schedule 2.
  • Location intentionally selected at watershed divide to minimize catchment impact area
  • Tailings deposition and construction method selected after completing a Best Available Tailings Technology review
  • The centerline design method was developed in the mid 1960’s to replace upstream dam design methods and provide increased stability.
  • Precedence of centerline cyclone sand dams includes: Copper Mountain, Gibraltar, Highland Valley Copper, Brenda, and Kemess South in British Columbia and numerous dams in high seismic areas such as Chile and Peru.
  • Regularly reviewed by an independent 8-member review board comprised of world class experts in tailings management with more than 300 years of combined experience
  • An Engineer of Record will be retained for facility and annual dam safety inspections will be performed, when constructed

 

The TMF will be regulated and monitored in compliance with the Canadian Dam Safety Association (CDA), International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Mining Association of Canada (MAC), and Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC), along with regular reviews by an eight-member Independent Geotechnical Review Board.