Monitoring Tailings Storage Facilities
with satellite InSAR data

One of the key challenges in the mining sector is the monitoring of Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF). Depending on their makeup, TSF and TSF walls can be susceptible to ground movement and instability. Due to this and their size - which can vary from a few meters to several kilometers - and the risk they pose if leakage or rupture were to occur, TSFs are an essential and challenging asset to monitor.

TSF dam failures can severely impact mine productivity as well as pose a great risk to the surrounding environment and people. For this reason, frequent monitoring of their stability is essential to ensure the timely detection of precursors to failures, such as surface displacementand fractures.

Satellite InSAR helps assess tailings dam stability with millimetric precision. When used in conjunction with complementary in-situ techniques, InSAR can provide a clear understanding of ground displacement patterns and history. Due to its reliable and frequent monitoring capability (every 4 to 11 days), and rapid delivery of results in standard GIS formats, InSAR has become an industry standard technology for managing geotechnical risks throughout the mining life-cycle.

Historical analysis

With image archives dating back to 1992, TREA can perform historical InSAR analyses with our SqueeSAR® algorithm, to detect precursors of ground movementand mitigate risk.

Ongoing monitoring

Satellite InSAR frequent updates allow fast identification of unstable areas or unusual patterns of motion.

Tailings dam InSAR result showing dam compaction. Profile A-B show non-standard settlement of the tailings dam. The time series shows the evolution of displacement (mm) and the distance (km) between 2018-2019.
InSAR based monitoring analysis showing dam compaction. Profile A-B shows non-standard settlement of the tailings dam.

Spatially dense and precise results

Millimetric precision measurementsInSAR provides ground displacement measurements with millimetric precision, typically around 1 mm/year.

Non-invasive and scalable technique

non invasive scalabilitySatellite InSAR is completely remote. It is unrivaled in its ability to obtain displacement measurements over large or small areas.

Weekly ground displacement updates

First deliveryThanks to a new generation of satellites, acquiring every 4-11 days, it is possible to receive weekly updates on ground displacement, with results delivered within 48 hours.

Risk assessment

Risk assessmentThe timeliness and accuracy of results aids geotechnical engineers in risk assessment and supports decision-making processes.

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