Among the subjects discussed at this year’s conference were improving the safety of dams (barriers, weirs and gates) and the role of storage reservoirs in flood prevention. The conference serves as a forum for exchanging knowledge, experience and the latest achievements by specialists from around the world. Among the experts taking part in the session on research and the operation and maintenance of hydrotechnical facilities were representatives of KGHM, who shared their know-how gained in preventing dust emissions from the beach and slopes of the „Żelazny Most” Tailings Storage Facility.
„Żelazny Most”, which collects the tailings from the three mines of KGHM Polska Miedź, is the largest tailings storage facility in Europe and the second largest in the world. It is located in Lower Silesia, east of the town of Polkowice in the municipality of Rudna. Covering an area of nearly 1.6 thousand hectares, the facility currently contains 630 million cubic meters of mine tailings. The facility is completely surrounded by earthen dams of 14 km in length and a maximum height of over 70 m.
Apart from its basic tailings storage function, the pond located at the center of the "Żelazny Most" facility serves as a clarifier of the excess water which is used in the floatation process, and due to the size of the facility it also acts as a retention reservoir for the excess mine-process water in circulation.
„Żelazny Most” is subject to round-the-clock monitoring: surrounding the facility are thousands of measuring points to assess and observe the facility. A Team of International Experts meets twice a year, at which times the newest results from monitoring the facility, research, analyses and calculations are presented.
Radosław Stach, Vice President of the Management Board of KGHM and COO: “The uniqueness of Żelazny Most demands that we search for and develop unique solutions to the issues it faces. KGHM Polska Miedź is a precursor in the application of innovative measurement systems, not only on a Polish scale but also world-wide. One example of these activities is exploring the possibility of utilising distributed fibre optic sensing to assess the security of the facility’s buildings and related structures.”
The experience acquired in this area was presented at the conference by experts from KGHM during the technical session „Fibre optic measurements of the dislocation of water intake tower W11 located on the terrain of the “Żelazny Most” Tailings Storage Facility”.
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