SRK Consulting – User Story
Enhanced data collection and analysis for tailings dam monitoring
SRK Consulting is an independent, international consulting practice that provides focused advice and solutions to clients working in the exploration, mining, environment, water, energy and infrastructure industries. The company employs over 1400 consulting engineers and scientists in over 45 offices on six continents. SRK’s environmental professionals develop solutions that sustain commercial interests and a healthy environment using leading edge ideas and technology to develop innovative solutions.
Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) surveillance involves the collection and analysis of data from field inspections and instrumentation. An effective surveillance programme is essential to ensure safe management of any tailings dam. The current practice on most South African TSFs is to measure, record and process surveillance data manually. The processing and interpretation of data is prone to human error and turnaround times are dependent on both the quality of data and the response times of individuals involved at each stage. The challenge was to overcome these limitations
The solution involved digitising the surveillance process and improving data quality using digital capturing methods with built-in validations. Automated processes for transfer, interpretation and communication of data and results were introduced in order to reduce response times. Data storage was enhanced via the use of secure, managed servers. Data accessibility was improved by using Web-based dashboards that are accessible to selected users. Data anomalies now automatically trigger alerts for prompt specific actions to be taken to safely manage or mitigate any suspected risk.
Using Esri’s ArcMap, a map can now be created, shared via ArcGIS Online and/or Portal for ArcGIS and then downloaded onto a smart device where it can be edited using Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS application. The person in the field can collect data and take photos at preloaded locations using drop down lists and data fields with built-in validations. The application works offline, which means the data can be collected at any time and uploaded when in a network environment to the server (SQL Database). The person back in the office can then view the data in real time using Esri’s Operations Dashboard or a customised website. Data verification and validation can also be done within the database with graphs, indicators and other valuable information automatically generated.
Collector for ArcGIS is freely downloadable and works on any smart device. Its ease-of-use enabled the data collector system to be implemented immediately, doing away with the cumbersome manual data collection practices. The new system’s real-time validation processes, location tracking and access to historical field data resulted in major time savings, fewer errors and improved data quality.
SRK’s long-term plan is to create a fully comprehensive in-house TSF surveillance system per mine that seamlessly integrates all available data into an easy to interpret format such as an interactive online dashboard. This would include the integration of current and historic surveillance data such as piezometers, drain flows, slurry densities, freeboard surveys, drone imagery data, on-site climate stations and satellite imagery. This would allow all data to be effectively managed by a centrally controlled data repository, enabling editor tracking and instant updates.
– Consistent, efficient, centralised, accessible, real-time monitoring of tailings dams.
– Collector for ArcGIS
– Operations Dashboard
– Time savings
– Enhanced data quality
– Real-time monitoring
– Improved effectiveness of TSF surveillance