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CENTRAL THICKENED DISCHARGE FOR TSF CLOSURE

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In November my former coworker, Andy Rudy, and I will be presenting at the 23rd International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings, a Virtual Conference.  You can find out about this conference at https://paste2020.com/?idioma=ingles.  Pre-recorded presentations will be available from Monday, November 7 at[…]

The Value of LinkedIn

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When I first started using LinkedIn, I had no idea what it was really for, except for “professional networking”, whatever that is.  That was many years ago.  How long ago, I have no idea.  It isn’t the professional’s version of Facebook, that is for sure. […]

(HU)MAN VERSUS MOTHER NATURE

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Every time I try to out-guess mother nature, she makes a fool out of me.  For example, I once had a client in Nevada who needed foundation recommendations for a lightly loaded structure that he wanted to have built.  He described the site to me[…]

MEMOIRS

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I just recently finished reading Steven Tyler’s autobiography.  It’s titled, “Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir”.  It was pretty good, especially if you like Aerosmith.  A really good friend of mine has talked me into writing my memoir. […]

VIRTUAL/REMOTE ENGINEERING

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A couple of weeks ago I began to have some knee pain.  It started after a very nice 7 mile run from my cabin to one of the local lakes and back.  I tried the traditional treatments of rest, elevation, ice and aspirin.   After a[…]

SAFETY SHARE

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All good meetings should start with a safety share.  This one is therefor way overdue.  When I was in high school, I was a gymnast.  I specialized in the rings.  You know, the one with the “iron cross”?  That’s always a crowd favorite.  At one[…]

Race

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The death of George Floyd was tragic on many levels.  It was not because this was the most gruesome death ever of a black man that the conversation, movement and protests started.  It was because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Because[…]

FISHING

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There is one thing that has really been good to me during this pandemic.  Fishing.  And, well, having time to catch up on a lot of content too.  There is a lot of really good content being produced now. Back to fishing.  As I’ve written[…]

OUR LIVES, INTERRUPTED

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My financial advisor always tells me that there will be another 2008-type disruption to the stock market.  I could wish that he was wrong, but we just had another one.  By the way, from what I understand, the markets should rebound more quickly this time[…]

THE OBSERVATIONAL METHOD

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THE OBSERVATIONAL METHOD We’ve all heard the expression, “the observational method”, but I think that many practitioners are confused/ill-informed of the actual application of the method.  I’ve heard it being used far out of context.  Let me try to clear up some of the confusion.[…]

CONSTRUCTION OVERSITE AND THE VALUE OF OBSERVATION

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I’ve written before about construction work and quality assurance/quality control.  When we do material testing for construction (whether it is earthwork, rock, aggregate, concrete, geosynthetics or whatever), we usually “sample” a small portion of material that is involved in the overall work.  For example, when[…]

INTEGRITY

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Integrity.  What is it?  Merriam Webster defines it as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values”.  Interesting.  It isn’t just about doing what you say you will do.  You must adhere to an especially moral value.  If someone has a[…]

NETWORKING

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NETWORKING Networking is pretty important for professionals, especially early in their careers.  What is networking?  It can and should mean many things.  There are conferences and tradeshows where you can meet or be introduced to others in your industry.  You don’t have to be a[…]

TAILINGS RAP

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Many years ago, when I worked at the US Bureau of Mines, I wrote a rap song about that job. That song is called The Bolt Boys. It was recorded by a co-worker and friend by the name of Clay Stuckey. That song can be[…]

THE SUNNYSIDE MINE

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Early in my career, I was provided with the opportunity to complete almost every aspect related to designing a raise to a tailings facility.  This particular tailings facility was located just to the east of the beautiful town of Silverton, Colorado.  I’ve mentioned Silverton previously,[…]

FIFTY SHADES OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

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It’s Day #7 of Working from Home/Social Distancing, and my wife has already reported me to HR three times. A co-worker asked me yesterday if I was going to be working in the office.  I told him “No, I’m avoiding the office like the…plague”.  I[…]

LAWSUITS AND OTHER WASTES OF TIME

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The following is a work of fiction. A while back, I helped defend a previous employer against a very frustrating lawsuit. This particular case pertained to an alleged construction defect. The owner claimed that the engineer and contractor had used reactive aggregate in the concrete,[…]

FINDING YOUR PASSION

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Passion. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines passion as an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. The Urban Dictionary says that “Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is[…]

WHY BLOG?

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Quite a few people have commented to me about my blog, saying that they really enjoyed this article or that one. It always feels good when people recognize (or at least acknowledge) my work. It makes me feel like the effort matters. A dear friend[…]

A TAILINGS FACILITY IS FOREVER

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I know. The expression is supposed to be, “A Diamond is Forever”. Thank you De Beers, but that really isn’t true. Not to knock too much of the luster off of the very famous slogan, but take the example of industrial diamonds that are used[…]

THE BIG “C”

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A very dear friend of mine is suffering from a type of blood-borne cancer that is very similar to leukemia. In her particular case, she needs a blood donor so they can harvest a certain type of stem cells (peripheral blood stem cells) that will[…]

HOLIDAY TIME IS FAMILY TIME

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The holidays are for family time. Sharing a laugh, sharing love, sharing a meal, and sharing gifts. And having the gift of each other’s company. This Christmas was a little different, as we traveled to Portland, Oregon to visit my daughter, Stephanie. Stephanie has lived[…]

TAILINGS RE-MINING

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This blog has been written with the prompting of my good friend, Dawn. At a lot of sites around the world, tailings are re-mined and re-processed.  When I was living in South Africa (1999 to 2003), I worked on a very large project where tailings[…]

A SALUTE TO MSHA

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According to their website, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) works to prevent death, illness, and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners. MSHA carries out the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health[…]

2019 ELKO ROUNDTABLE

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On Thursday October 19th, it was my pleasure to once again host the Elko Roundtable. My co-host for the event was my good friend Rick Frechette. My little joke was that I was the host and he was the co-host. This year, the gathering was[…]

THE POWER OF PUBLICATION

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I had my first professional publication more than three decades ago. That was at the US Bureau of Mines. I’ve told you about that previously. Since then, I have been published about three dozen more times. A list of most of those publications can found[…]

CANARY IN A COAL MINE

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Now if I tell you that you suffer from delusions. You pay your analyst to reach the same conclusions. You live your life like a canary in a coalmine. You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line. Canary in a coalmine. Canary in[…]

THE POWER OF COMMUNICATION

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The 1981 movie, “Neighbors” is the story of one man’s quiet suburban life which takes a sickening lurch for the worse when a young couple move into the deserted house next door. From the word go it is obvious these are not the quiet professional[…]

AN OPEN LETTER TO ELON MUSK

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Mr. Musk. You are a risk-taker and a visionary. You are a talented team-builder. Are you ready for a new challenge? I know you’re working on mining in space, but are you really ready? SpaceX has had many firsts. SpaceX’s achievements include sending the first[…]

FILTERED TAILINGS 101

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In-Pit Disposal of Filtered Tailings I’ve written briefly on filtered tailings in other blogs. To re-cap, filtered tailings have the approximate consistency of used, wet coffee grounds from a drip coffee maker. Filtered tailings can be delivered to the TSF by conveyor or truck. Filtered[…]

MURUNTAU MUSINGS (PART THREE)

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In Uzbekistan, they celebrated several different new year events. I wish I’d been warned about one in particular. I was at the apartment alone one night, when there was a knock on the door. A group of kids were there. They said something, and threw[…]

MURUNTAU MUSINGS (PART 1)

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The Muruntau gold deposit is in the Kyzyl Kum Desert of Uzbekistan. It is being mined in the world’s largest open-pit gold mine with production of about two million ounces a year. The gold ore resource in the Muruntau deposit, including past production, is about[…]

ORIGIN STORY (PART 1)

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Okay, I don’t really think that this is an origin story, but it is the story of my first job after college. Maybe it was more of a metamorphosis. But first, some back story. I was in the undergraduate mining engineering program at New Mexico[…]

MANIFEST DESTINY(?)

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The California goldrush of the latter part of the 1800s, and later in Colorado and other western states, is a prime example of many things. Man’s quest for treasure. Man’s need for adventure. Man’s ability to overcome extreme odds. And the thought that the American[…]

TYPES OF TAILINGS FACILITIES

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How many types of tailings facilities are there? How many stars are there in the night’s sky? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Okay, maybe not that many, but there are a lot, because each one[…]

WHY MINING?

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First, what is mining? Mining is the extraction of rocks (stone) or minerals from the earth. Some mineralized deposits are of economic interest to the miner or mining company. Products recovered by mining include metals, coal, oil shale, gemstones, limestone, chalk, salt, gravel, dimensional stone,[…]

LUNAR MINING

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Lunar mining? What in the world? Have we already depleted this planet to such a point that we need to begin exploiting other celestial bodies? Nope! But is it real? And is it needed? Let’s find out! There are three primary potential resources existing on[…]

STATIC LIQUEFACTION

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My friend, who I will call “Joe” was commenting to me about my blog, and how Joe has found some of the articles to be especially helpful for non-technical people. Joe mentioned to me that a non-technical article on static liquefaction would be very helpful.[…]

Bolt boys

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The year was 1985, or there-about. I was in the ground control group at the US Bureau of Mines in Denver. Somebody referred to us as the bolt boys. I wrote this semi-satirical hop-hop song in response. The recording was done by my friend Clay[…]

FINDING AWESOME

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A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was commenting on my blog, and said that I shouldn’t be afraid to change things up.  Post a recipe, or whatever.  Thanks Steve.  Here is a change-up. It was the winter of 2009, just after New Year’s[…]

TAILINGS 101

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So let’s talk about tailings. This conversation is overdue.  In particular, let’s talk about hard-rock, milled tailings. There are other materials at other types of mining properties that are sometimes referred to as tailings. For example, at a diamond mine there is the ground waste product,[…]

READER’S QUESTIONS

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My good friend, Jagrut Jathal has asked me the following questions: 1. Are upstream tailings dams really to blame for the recent incidents in Brazil? Despite the inherent risks, there are several such facilities across the world that have operated and continue to operate safely.[…]

What Happens When I Respond to an Emergency (Part 1)

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A website provides a database of world-wide tailings dams failures from 1915 to present (https://worldminetailingsfailures.org/).  That website indicates that they support global research in tailings failure root cause, loss prevention and trend analysis.  Their database lists the following TSF failures that have resulted in more than 100[…]

WHEN A TAILINGS DAM FAILS (PART 2)

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On January 25, 2019, the Córrego do Feijão Dam 1 collapsed at the Vale iron ore mine near Brumadinho in Brazil, releasing 11 million metric tons of tailings into the areas below the facility, including mine infrastructure buildings. The collapse was essentially immediate and nearly[…]

WHEN A TAILINGS FACILITY FAILS

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WHEN A TAILINGS FACILITY FAILS When a tailings facility fails, lives are impacted; families are impacted. When a tailings facility fails, the environment suffers; communities can be devastated. When a tailings facility fails, the mining community as a whole suffers. When a tailings facility fails,[…]

I TELL PEOPLE I’M A CIVIL ENGINEER

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In about 1996 or 1997, when I joined Toastmasters (which I highly recommend to anyone who needs to speak in public), my first speech to that group was titled, “I Tell People that I’m a Civil Engineer”.  The next line is… “But I’m not”.  It was a[…]

THE ENGINEER OF RECORD

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In April of 2015, I had the distinct pleasure of delivering a talk at the New York city’s chapter of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.  The occasion was their annual conference on Current Trends in Mining Finance.  My talk was a bit different[…]

EXPLORATION 101

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The initial stage of mining starts with the process of finding and the exploration of the mineral deposit. Prospecting is a small-scale form of mineral exploration. Prospecting is physical work, involving traversing (traditionally on foot or on horseback), panning, sifting and outcrop investigation, and/or looking[…]

TRAVELOGUE: AUSTRALIA EDITION

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I’m just returning from a trip to Australia, and I thought I’d share some of what I came across there, even though the content on this blog is largely non-technical, and it doesn’t even really follow the general themes of my previous blogs. The trip[…]