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Major Global Mine Tailing Pond Failures

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Date Location Parent company Ore type Type of Incident Release Impacts
2014, Aug. 4 Mount Polley mine, near Likely, British Columbia, Canada Imperial Metals Corp.external link copper, gold tailings dam failure 4.5 million m3 of tailings and 10 million m3 of water tailings flowing into adjacent Polley Lake and, through Hazeltine Creek, into Quesnel Lake (Mitchell Bay)
2014, Feb. 2 Dan River Steam Station, Eden, North Carolina, USA Duke Energy external link coal ash collapse of an old drainage pipe under a 27-acre ash waste pond about 82,000 short tons [74,400 t] of toxic coal ash and 27 million gallons [100,000 m3] of contaminated water ash flowing through drainage pipe into Dan River
2013, Nov. 15-19 Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine external link, Kajaran, Syunik province, Armenia Cronimet Mining AGexternal link copper, molybdenum damage of tailings pipeline ? tailings flowing into Norashenik River for several days
2012, Dec. 17 former Gullbridge mine site, Newfoundland, Canada   copper embankment dam failure, width 50 m  







non-consumption water advisory has been issued for the Town of South Brook (view details external link - Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation)
2012, Nov. 4 Sotkamo, Kainuu province, Finland Talvivaara Mining Company Plc external link nickel, (uranium by-product planned) leak from gypsum pond through a "funnel-shaped hole" hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of contaminated waste water nickel and zinc concentrations in nearby Snow River exceeded the values that are harmful to organisms tenfold or even a hundredfold, uranium concentrations more than tenfold (view details)
2011, Jul. 21 Mianyang City, Songpan County, Sichuan Province, China Xichuan Minjiang Electrolytic Manganese Plant manganese tailings dam damaged from landslides caused from heavy rains ? tailings damaged residential roads and houses, forcing 272 people to leave; tailings were washed into the Fujiang River, leaving 200,000 people without drinking water supply
2010, Oct. 4 Kolontár, Hungary
(Aerial View:Google Mapsexternal link)
MAL Magyar Alumínium external link bauxite tailings dam failure (view details) 700,000 cubic metres of caustic red mud several towns flooded, 10 people killed, approx. 120 people injured, 8 square kilometres flooded
2010, Jun. 25 Huancavelica, Peru Unidad Minera Caudalosa Chica ? tailings dam failure 21,420 cubic metres of tailings contamination of río Escalera and río Opamayo 110 km downstream
2009, Aug. 29 Karamken, Magadan region, Russia ? gold tailings dam failure after heavy rain
(see background info external link - SRIC 2004)
? eleven homes were carried away by the mudflow; at least one person was killed
2009, May 14 Huayuan County, Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, China ? manganese tailings dam failure (capacity: 50,000 cubic metres) ? The landslide set off by the tailings dam failure destroyed a home, killing three and injuring four people.
2008, Dec. 22 Kingston fossil plant, Harriman, Tennessee, USA Tennessee Valley Authority external link coal ash retention wall failure Release of 5.4 million cubic yards [4.1 million cubic metres] of ashy slurry The ash slide covered 400 acres [1.6 square kilometres] as deep as 6 feet [1.83 metres]. The wave of ash and mud toppled power lines, covered Swan Pond Road and ruptured a gas line. It damaged 12 homes, and one person had to be rescued, though no one was seriously hurt.
2008, Sep. 8 Taoshi, Linfen City, Xiangfen county, Shanxi province, China Tashan mining company iron Collapse of a waste-product reservoir at an illegal mine during rainfall ? A mudslide several metres high buried a market, several homes and a three-storey building. At least 254 people are dead and 35 injured.
2006, Nov. 6 Nchanga, Chingola, Zambia Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) external link
(51% Vedanta Resources plc external link)
copper failure of tailings slurry pipeline from Nchanga tailings leaching plant to Muntimpa tailings dumps ? Release of highly acidic tailings into Kafue river; high concentrations of copper, manganese, cobalt in river water; drinking water supply of downstream communities shut down
2006, April 30 near Miliang, Zhen'an County, Shangluo, Shaanxi Province, China Zhen'an County Gold Mining Co. Ltd. gold tailings dam failure during sixth upraising of dam ? The landslide buried about 40 rooms of nine households, leaving 17 residents missing. Five injured people were taken to hospital. More than 130 local residents have been evacuated. Toxic potassium cyanide was released into the Huashui river, contaminating it approx. 5 km downstream.
2005, April 14 Bangs Lake, Jackson County, Mississippi, USA Mississippi Phosphates Corp. external link phosphate phosphogypsum stack failure, because the company was trying to increase the capacity of the pond at a faster rate than normal, according to Officials with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (the company has blamed the spill on unusually heavy rainfall, though) approx. 17 million gallons of acidic liquid (64,350 m3) liquid poured into adjacent marsh lands, causing vegetation to die
2004, Nov. 30 Pinchi Lake, British Columbia, Canada Teck Cominco Ltd. external link mercury tailings dam (100-metres long and 12-metres high) collapses during reclamation work 6,000 to 8,000 m3 of rock, dirt and waste water tailings spilled into 5,500 ha Pinchi Lake
2004, Sep. 5 Riverview, Florida, USA Cargill Crop Nutritionexternal link phosphate a dike at the top of a 100-foot-high gypsum stack holding 150-million gallons of polluted water broke after waves driven by Hurricane Frances bashed the dike's southwest corner 60 million gallons (227,000 m3) of acidic liquid liquid spilled into Archie Creek that leads to Hillsborough Bay
2004, May 22 Partizansk, Primorski Krai, Russia Dalenergo coal ash A ring dike, enclosing an area of roughly 1 km2 and holding roughly 20 million cubic meters of coal ash, broke. The break left a hole roughly 50 meter wide in the dam. approximately 160,000 cubic meters of ash The ash flowed through a drainage canal into a tributary to the Partizanskaya River which empties in to Nahodka Bay in Primorski Krai (east of Vladivostok).
For details download Sept. 2004 report external link (PDF) by Paul Robinson, SRIC
2004, March 20 Malvési, Aude, France Comurhex (Cogéma/Areva) decantation and evaporation pond of uranium conversion plant dam failure after heavy rain in preceding year (viewdetails) 30,000 cubic metres of liquid and slurries release led to elevated nitrate concentrations of up to 170 mg/L in the canal of Tauran for several weeks
2003, Oct. 3 Cerro Negro, Petorca prov., Quinta region, Chile Cia Minera Cerro Negro copper tailings dam failure 50,000 tonnes of tailings tailings flowed 20 kilometers downstream the río La Ligua
2002, Aug. 27 / Sep. 11 San Marcelino, Zambales, Philippines Dizon Copper Silver Mines, Inc.   overflow and spillway failure of two abandoned tailings dams after heavy rain (view details) ? Aug. 27: some tailings spilled into Mapanuepe Lake and eventually into the Sto. Tomas River
Sep. 11: low lying villages flooded with mine waste; 250 families evacuated; nobody reported hurt so far
2001, Jun. 22 Sebastião das Águas Claras, Nova Lima district, Minas Gerais, Brazil Mineração Rio Verde Ltda iron mine waste dam failure (view details) ? tailings wave traveled at least 6 km, killing at least two mine workers, three more workers are missing
2000, Oct. 18 Nandan county, Guangxi province, China ? ? tailings dam failure ? at least 15 people killed, 100 missing; more than 100 houses destroyed
2000, Oct. 11 Inez, Martin County, Kentucky, USA Martin County Coal Corporation (100%A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc. external link, Richmond, VA (100% Fluor Corp.external link)) coal tailings dam failure from collapse of an underground mine beneath the slurry impoundment (view details) 250 million gallons (950,000 m3) of coal waste slurry released into local streams About 75 miles (120 km) of rivers and streams turned an irridescent black, causing a fish kill along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River and some of its tributaries. Towns along the Tug were forced to turn off their drinking water intakes.
2000, Sep. 8 Aitik mine, Gällivare, Sweden Boliden Ltd. external link copper tailings dam failure from insufficient perviousness of filter drain (view details) release of 2.5 million m3 of liquid into an adjacent settling pond, subsequent release of 1.5 million m3 of water (carrying some residual slurry) from the settling pond into the environment  
2000, Mar. 10 Borsa, Romania Remin S.A.   tailings dam failure after heavy rain 22,000 t of heavy-metal contaminated tailings contamination of the Vaser stream, tributary of the Tisza River.
View Romanian Govt. report external link · UNEP report external link (527k PDF)
2000, Jan. 30 Baia Mare, Romania Aurul S.A. (Esmeralda Exploration external link, Australia (50%), Remin S.A. (44.8%)) gold recovery from old tailings tailings dam crest failure after overflow caused from heavy rain and melting snow (view details) 100,000 m3 of cyanide-contaminated liquid contamination of the Somes/Szamos stream, tributary of the Tisza River, killing tonnes of fish and poisoning the drinking water of more than 2 million people in Hungary
(from 1960 to 6 August 2014)

Note: Due to limited availability of data, this compilation is in no way complete

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