Volume 43, N. 3, Special Issue: 70 years of ABMS (Invited Editor: Waldemar Hachich), July-September, 2020 | PDF(195 downloads)
Recent major upstream raised tailings dam failures have led to a reopening of the discussion of the validity of some of the existing routine practices within the profession. Despite its many shortcomings, deterministic slope stability limit equilibrium analysis is and will continue to be, at least for some time ahead, an important tool for tailings dams’ safety assessment. Within this context, this paper presents a contribution to the postulation of minimum factors of safety required for tailings dams’ slope stability analysis. A recent review and discussion of limit equilibrium analysis and the guidelines of international standards and current trends, with focus on tailings dams, are presented. Based on this review, and the authors’ academic and professional experience, minimum required factors of safety recommendations are proposed. The framework of the recommendations strives to conciliate, in a simple manner, the deterministic minimum required factors of safety with concepts of consequence, uncertainties, risk and characteristics of loose tailings behaviour as a material.