Nornickel plans to use digital models to monitor tailing dumps

By griffith - June 25, 2021

Presently, the company has six tailing dumps, four of which are located on the Taimyr Peninsula

MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. The Norilsk Nickel Company (Nornickel) will use digital models at its production facilities to monitor most accurately their tailing dumps, the company’s Senior Vice President for sustainable development Andrei Bugrov told TASS on Wednesday.

Presently, as the company reports on its website, it has six tailing dumps, four of which are located on the Taimyr Peninsula.

“The tailing dumps’ forms, features, qualities must be converted into a digital format and uploaded to the model,” the company’s representative said. “The model shows how a particular tailing dump may behave in case of changes in one or more conditions. This way we will be able to model future events. Then, we need a system to monitor those tailing dumps”.

According to him, the company will replace staff members, who observe the tailing dumps, with monitoring drones. “In the past, we used to have people on cars, who drove watching whether water is leaking. Water means a hole, a crack in the dam, and so forth. This job may be done by drones and various robots. This is an absolutely different approach to managing tailing dumps, which may forecast certain changes in the facilities’ behavior,” he explained.

Nornickel’s representative continued by saying the company had been implementing a system of sensors to track the behavior of perennially frozen grounds – the sensors are installed on a building’s foundation, and the signal is transmitted to the center for further analysis. In total, the system will require installation of about 1,500 sensors at Nornickel’s enterprises, he added.

Accident on Taimyr

The fuel spill happened in May, 2020, when a tank unsealed, and 20,000 tonnes of fuel flowed out. The Krasnoyarsk Region’s Arbitration Court partially satisfied a claim by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage (Rosprirodnadzor) and a fine of 146 billion rubles ($2 billion). Nornickel has settled the fine.

According to a report by the Great Norilsk Expedition, the power plant’s pile foundation most likely subsided because groundwater must have ruined the permafrost monolith.