Factual, Transparent and Accurate information about KSM’s Tailings Management Facility

On July 20, 2017, DeSmog Canada Published an article titled Why We Need to Clean Up Mining if We Want a Renewable Energy Economy. The article contained the subheading, KSM Mine Allowed to Proceed with Massive Tailings Dam Despite Mount Polley, wherein incorrect and/or incomplete information was written about KSM’s Tailings Management Facility (TMF).

The facts about KSM’s TMF are as follows:

  1. The proposed KSM TMF is not like the Mount Polley facility. KSM does not have earthen dams, instead, our tailing dams will be constructed using a centre lined design; we will use double cycloned tailing sand as the construction material; and our facility will be located within a valley with dams located at the ends of the storage structure.


  1. The Expert Technical Panel formed after the Mount Polley incident did not recommend no further use of wet tailings storage, but highlighted that projects must move towards the implementation of Best Available Tailings Technology (BATT), such as the use of dry stacking, underground backfill and mined out pits as potential management options to prevent future accidents.


  1. The Expert Technical Panel did not comment on the KSM Project or specifically its proposed tailing management facility, as is indicated in the article. Furthermore Dr. Dirk van Zyl, one of the Mount Polley Independent Panel members, in a publicly available letter to the then BC Minister of Mines, Bill Bennett, dated August 18, 2015, indicated that “BATT is not a single technology; its selection is based upon a site-specific risk management process with the outcome of a stable and resilient tailings deposit.


  1. Seabridge, immediately after the Mount Polley incident, committed to the establishment of an Independent Geotechnical Review Board (IGRB) to oversee and comment on the design of the major structures planned for and not yet built at KSM. This board was formed in January 2015 and contains more than 350 years of world wide experience in the management of large scale geotechnical structures. (http://seabridgegold.net/News/Article/503/independent-geotechnical-review-board-established-for-ksm-project)


  1. In April 2016, the IGRB confirmed the design of the proposed structures for the KSM Project were appropriate and were deemed safe. The findings of their first report are publicly available on the KSM Project website. (http://seabridgegold.net/News/Article/587/design-of-tailing-management-facility-and-water-storage-dam-at-ksm-receives-vote-of-confidence-from-independent-geotechnical-review-board; http://ksmproject.com/independent-review-board/)


  1. Seabridge in recognition that our Provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate was issued prior to the Mount Polley incident and in response to the Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel report on the breach of the Mount Polley tailing storage facility, initiated in August 2015, a further Best Available Tailings Technology review of the planned management approach for KSM.This study confirmed the existing tailing management facility design, consisting of centerline dams constructed with double cycloned sand and a till core in association 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 the proposed tailing storage facility for the KSM Project. This conclusion confirms the findings from KSM’s Independent Geotechnical Review Board that the TMF’s design is robust and appropriate for KSM’s site specific characteristics. (http://seabridgegold.net/News/Article/617/seabridge-gold-s-design-of-ksm-project-s-tailing-management-facility-confirmed-as-best-available-technology-by-leading-engineering-firm ; http://ksmproject.com/bat-report/)


  1. As a further step in its review process for our proposed tailings management approach, Seabridge commissioned an independent review of the BATT report by Dr. Dirk van Zyl. Dr. van Zyl is a world-recognized expert in tailings, mined-earth structures, and sustainability with over 40 years of experience. He is currently a faculty member at UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and was a member of the Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel investigating the Mount Polley tailing storage facility breach. In his review of the Klohn Crippen report, Dr. van Zyl states: “I support the overall conclusions of the KSM BATT report. The evaluation shows that using filtered tailings at this project is not a feasible option as it will not result in moving to zero failures. Adding complexity to tailings management, as filtered tailings will do at the KSM site, does not promote the overall goal of moving to zero failures. (http://seabridgegold.net/News/Article/617/seabridge-gold-s-design-of-ksm-project-s-tailing-management-facility-confirmed-as-best-available-technology-by-leading-engineering-firm)


Seabridge encourages anyone with questions or concerns about the KSM project to contact us directly.  We will provide timely and factual responses to all questions.