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Considerations for modelling the stability of tailings embankments

The workshops will cover the following topics:

Model inputs

  • Selecting design parameters
  • What has been missed in major tailings failures in the past? Causes (mechanisms) and triggers (why did failure occur when it did?)

Modelling methods

  • Limit equilibrium or Numerical – Advantages and disadvantages, and how to handle complex geometries and ground conditions
  • Limit equilibrium modelling considerations using Slide2 and Slide3 software (Circular vs. non-circular / Search methods / Weak Layers / Anisotropic strength models / Thrust line check)
  • Finite element modelling considerations using RS2 and RS3 software (Shear Strength Reduction / Mesh size effect / Boundary conditions effect / Staging)


David Williams

Professor David Williams initiated and directs the Geotechnical Engineering Centre at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and also manages the industry-funded Large Open Pit Project. He has over 40 years of teaching, research and consulting experience. He is internationally recognised for his expertise and experience in mine waste management and mine closure, in particular the design, construction, operation, closure and rehabilitation of tailings dams and waste rock dumps, including the design of covers, on which he has delivered a number of invited Keynote Lectures. He was on the Expert Panel investigating the technical causes of the fatal Brumadinho tailings dam failure in Brazil in 2019 and serves on a number of Independent Technical Reviews Boards for Tailings Facilities in Australia and internationally.

Alison McQuillan

Alison currently holds the position of Director, Rocscience Australia overseeing operations in Australia and New Zealand. She obtained her PhD at UNSW and is a Chartered Professional (in Geotech) and RPEQ. Her area of expertise is rock mechanics and open pit slope stability, previously working in both ops and corporate roles for Anglo American and Rio Tinto as well as providing specialists consulting services for copper, gold, iron ore, coal and diamond operations in Australia, PNG, SE Asia and Africa.


Wednesday 12 July 2023


1:00pm - 5:00pm


Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre


Afternoon tea will be provided


AusIMM Member – $250.00
Non Member – $300.00
Student – $150.00

All workshop fees include GST

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