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Dam failure halts gold mining in Australia

Mining has been halted at Newcrest Mining’s Cadia Gold Mine in New South Wales, Australia following collapse of a tailings dam at the site.

According to Newcrest, a limited breakthrough of tailings material was identified at the Cadia northern tailings dam embankment on 9 March and has been contained within the southern tailings dam.

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The dam collapse occurred two days after two earthquakes of magnitude 2.7 hit the area but Newcrest has not mentioned this in its media briefings

The mine operator said that an area of the embankment slumped following the identification of cracks earlier in the day in the dam wall during a regular inspection. “When such cracks were noticed the site team quickly engaged an independent geotechnical consultant to assist Newcrest’s geotechnical engineers at Cadia with an inspection and preliminary assessment of the embankment,” said Newcrest in a statement.

“The area around the tailings dam has been secured, and a comprehensive geotechnical monitoring system has been implemented, involving radar and cameras, to allow real time assessment of ground movement of the dam wall. No further movement of the wall has been detected.”

Newcrest has said that geotechnical analysis of potential remediation options has started and the mine operator is currently looking at alternative tailings locations to allow mining to restart while repair work is underway.

“The safety of our people and the community, together with the highest standards of environmental compliance, are paramount and remain our focus as we investigate this event and enact our forward work plan,” said Newcrest CEO and managing director Sandeep Biswas.



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