Dynamic analysis of tailings dams using advanced constitutive models

Tailings are the residual material produced during the extraction of minerals from mined ores and are usually produced in slurry form. Tailings are retained in impoundments that depending on the type of their structures could be vulnerable in terms of stability under different loading scenarios such as earthquake loading. The consequences of the failure of tailings dams are heavy economic losses, environmental degradation and, in many cases, human loss. These factors justify investment and detailed study on proper analysis and design of tailings dams. Finite element and/or finite difference analyses are powerful tools for the analysis in the embankments and foundations. Using these tools staged-construction, variation of material properties in different zones and foundation can be taken into consideration. The objective of the proposed study is development and application of advanced computational geomechanics tools, with emphasis on constitutive modeling of tailings, for static and seismic stability analysis of tailings impoundments.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Mahdi Taiebat


Andres Barrero


SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc.


Engineering - civil


Mining and quarrying


University of British Columbia



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