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As risk assessment methods have developed and become more understood, organisations involved with operating and maintaining tailings storage facilities (TSFs) have become more open to managing their TSFs based on a risk profiles of their portfolio rather than fallback methods.
The risk profiles of the TSFs can be compared to tolerable limits defined by the risk appetite of the organisation as well as recommendations from guidelines and standards to determine where the organisations should can efficiently direct their capital into required studies or remedial works. The ultimate aim is to then bring the risk profile of individual TSFs and ultimately their portfolioof TSFs to within tolerable limits. The issue of developing a risk profile emerges where organisations have limited or uncollated information for a large portfolio of dams. Often the overwhelming number of failure mechanisms and the characteristics of TSFs leading to these failure mechanisms eventuating mean that owners of TSFs are unable to properly ascertain the risks presented by the TSFs without
carrying out detailed and expensive studies.
This paper presents the development of a comparative risk assessment tool for a portfolio of TSFs with limited and uncollated data to provide an initial comparative risk profile for each TSF. The tool was based on the development of a TSF characteristic database, which was then distilled into indicators of the failure probability, which were then integrated to produce a high-level risk profile for each TSF and the entire TSF portfolio.