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Chronology of major tailings dam failures

(from 1960)

(last updated 20 Jun 2024)

Note: Due to limited availability of data, this compilation is in no way complete

Date Location Parent company Ore type Type of Incident Release Impacts
2024, June 13 Cabildo, Valparaíso region, Chile Grupo Minero Las Cenizas S.A. copper partial failure of embankment dam of Peñablanca tailings storage facility after heavy rain ? some tailings reached the La Ligua River, but the bulk of the (thickened) tailings remained on site
2024, May 11 Siana Gold Project , Mainit town, Surigao Del Norte Province, Philippines Greenstone Resources Corp. (100% TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. gold tailings dam failure of Tailings Storage Facility 3 after heavy rain and seismic activity ? "About 10 to 15 houses were affected but no casualties have been reported owing to a timely evacuation of residents"; 55 families had to flee
2024, Jan. 25(?) Lone Khin, Hpakant, Kachin, Myanmar 111 Jade Mining Co. (Kyaukmyet Shwe Pyi Company) jade tailings (?) dam failure

> Watch video of dam collapse as it happens (!) (Youtube)

3 million m3
(AGU estimate)

> View satellite imagery (AGU Landslide Blog)

The mud wave flowed into a lower basin/lake.
2023, Jan. 31 Kearl oil sands mine, Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Canada Imperial Oil (69.6% Exxon Mobil Corp.) bitumen process water drainage pond overflow 5,300 m3 ?
2022, Nov. 7 Williamson Mine, Mwadui Lohumbo, Kishapu District, Shinyanga Province, Tanzania Petra Diamonds Ltd (75%), Government of Tanzania (25%) diamond tailings dam failure:
the tailings escaped through an approx. 150 m wide breach of the eastern wall of the impoundment; the outflow of tailings was still ongoing between Nov. 7 and Nov. 8
12.8 million m3 of water and tailings The mud wave (up to 1.2 km wide) traveled over 8 km, covering 5.09 km2, damaging 13 houses and farmland. Three injuries have been reported. About 115 citizens of Ngw'wanholo village have been severely affected.
2022, Sep. 11 Jagersfontein (🔊︎), Kopanong, Xhariep, Free State, South Africa Jagersfontein Developments (Pty) Ltd (then part of Superkolong Consortium) acquired the site in 2010 from De Beers ; in April 2022, Jagersfontein Developments (Pty) Ltd became part of Stargems Group , Dubai; current ownership is disputed diamond (recovery by processing of old spoil heaps) tailings dam failure

> Watch video (Youtube)
5.04 million m3 The mud wave (up to 1.5 km wide) traveled approx. 8.5 km, sweeping away and/or destroying 51 houses and affecting another 103, sweeping away cars, disrupting power lines, killing two persons, injuring another 76, and displacing more than 300. One person is still missing. At least 500 animals have died.
The mud then entered Wolwas Dam, then Prosesspruit, a tributary to Rietrivier, which flows into Kalkfontein Dam, located in a Nature Reserve.
> Watch video (Youtube)
2022, July 23 Agua Dulce, Potosí, Bolivia Federación Departamental de Cooperativas Mineras de Potosí (Fedecomín) silver, zinc tailings dam failure ? A mud wave with unrecovered minerals and chemical elements reached the river of la Rivera, as well as the Quebrada de Tarapaya, which connects with the Pilcomayo River. Argentina's Salta province has issued an order forbidding the use of the Pilcomayo River water.
2022, May - 2023, February? Kearl oil sands mine, Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Canada Imperial Oil (69.6% Exxon Mobil Corp.) bitumen tailings seepage ? ?
2022, Mar. 27 Wenquan Township, Jiaokou County, Shanxi Province, China Shanxi Daoer Aluminum Co., Ltd. bauxite tailings dam failure 224,000 m3 Part of the factory area was buried; a large pit was formed in the tailings pond, the dam body was flushed with a gap of about 70 to 80 meters, causing 7.5 mu [0.5 ha] of arbor forest land to be buried, more than 200 meters of seasonal ditches and rural roads were blocked, and part of the surrounding walls of adjacent enterprises were washed away.
2022, Jan. 20 Banjhiberana village, Thelkoloi area, Sambalpur district, Odisha (formerly Orissa), India JSW Bhushan Power and Steel Limited iron breach of tailings pond wall holding iron slurry generated from beneficiation plant ? at least 20-30 acres [8-12 hectares] of farmland were submerged under the iron ore slurry while two ponds were contaminated, causing a fish kill; a security guard is reported missing
2022, Jan. 8 Pau Branco mine, Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil Vallourec S.A. iron After heavy rain, a slope failure involving three banks of the Cachoeirinha mine waste pile resulted in a release of mine waste into the Lisa water retention dam. The dam then overflowed on the whole length of the embankment, without compromising its stability.
> View video of dam overflow (Youtube)
? The mud wave overflowing from the retention dam blocked the BR-040 highway. One person was injured.
2021, Dec. 24 Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Zululand Anthracite Colliery (Menar group ) anthracite coal slurry dam failure 1,500 m3 of slurry, containing a variety of several toxic heavy metals and chemical compounds that include mercury, manganese, arsenic, copper and lead the liquid coal waste poured into the Black Umfolozi and White Umfolozi River system, flowing through rural communities and the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi and iSimangaliso wildlife reserves, raising concern about the health of people, animals and the broader environment exposed to toxic and acidic wastes
2021, Nov. 26 San Antonio de María mine, Ananea, San Antonio de Putina province, Puno, Peru Central de Cooperativas Mineras de San Antonio de Poto (CECOMSAP) gold tailings dam (settling pond?) failure after heavy rain ? the tailings wave destroyed approx. 400 meters of the national road that goes to the La Rinconada town center and spilled into three residential areas (Progreso, Central and Santiago)
2021, Nov. 18 Yedikardes village, Sebinkarahisar district of Giresun, Turkey Nesko Madencilik A.S. (Yildizlar Holding) lead, zinc, copper failure of tailings dam No.2 > 4,500 t the tailings flowed into dam No. 1 and then into the Darabul Stream and reached Kiliçkaya Dam 5 km downstream (watch TEMA Foundation video on Youtube)
2021, July 27 Catoca mine, Saurimo, Lunda Sul, Angola Sociedade Mineira de Catoca Lda. , Luanda diamond breach in spillway duct leads to massive spill of "rejected pulp" ? Lova River polluted 100 km downstream; pollution of Tchicapa River rendered drinking water in the Muatova neighborhood in the city of Lucapa unsafe (view Sentinel Vision images )
2020, July 2 Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar jade waste heap failure after heavy rain ? a heap of mining waste collapsed into a lake, triggering a wave of mud and water that buried many workers; at least 126 people were killed
2020, May 1 San José de Los Manzanos, Canelas, Durango, Mexico Exportaciones de Minerales de Topia SA (EMITSA) lead, zinc tailings dam failure 6,000 m3 the tailings spilled on a nearby road and 8,000 m2 of land, reaching the San Bernabé stream after 5 km and the town of the same name
2020, Mar. 28 Tieli, Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, China Yichun Luming Mining Co., Ltd (subsidiary of state-run China Railway Resources Group Co., Ltd ) molybdenum "No. 4 overflow well" [decant tower?] of the tailings dam tilted, resulting in the release of supernatant water and tailings through a drainage tunnel, while the embankment itself remained intact 2.53 million m3 water and tailings flowed through surrounding area, reaching Yijimi river after 3 km, threatening the drinking water resource of 68,000 people in Tieli City; by Apr. 4, the pollution reached 208 km downstream
2019, Nov. 13 La Rinconada, Ananea, San Antonio de Putina province, Puno, Peru Corporación minera San Francisco, Central de Cooperativas Mineras de San Antonio de Putina (Cecomsap) gold tailings dam failure ? the tailings wave flowed over the Ananea-La Rinconada highway, killing one motorcyclist
2019, Oct. 1 Nossa Senhora do Livramento, Mato Grosso, Brazil VM Mineração e Construção, Cuiabá gold tailings dam failure ? tailings flowed 1-2 km, thereby disrupting a power line
2019, July 10 Cobriza mine, San Pedro de Coris district, Churcampa province, Huancavelica region, Peru Doe Run Perú S.R.L. copper tailings dam failure 67,488 m3 of tailings tailings covered an area of 41,574 m2 and reached Mantaro River
2019, Apr. 22 Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar Shwe Nagar Koe Kaung Gems Co. Ltd., Myanmar Thura Gems Co. Ltd. jade waste heap failure ? 3 workers killed, 54 workers are missing
2019, Apr. 9 Muri, Jharkhand, India Hindalco Industries Limited bauxite failure of red mud tailings pond ? spill of red mud over 35 acres and a nearby railway line, number of casualties still unclear
2019, Mar. 29 Machadinho d'Oeste, Oriente Novo, Rondônia, Brazil Metalmig Mineração Indústria e Comércio S/A tin failure of inactive tailings dam after heavy rain ? tailings spill damaged seven bridges, leaving 100 families isolated; no deaths or injuries reported
2019, Jan. 25 Córrego de Feijão mine, Brumadinho, Região Metropolitana de Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil Vale SA iron failure of tailings dam No. 1
(View details)
12 million m3

> View: video of dam failure and flow slide as it happens (!) (Globo)

The tailings wave devastated the mine's loading station, its administrative area, and two smaller sediment retention basins (B4 and B4A); it then traveled approx. 7 km downhill until reaching Rio Paraopeba, thereby destroying a bridge of the mine's railway branch, and spreading to parts of the local community Vila Ferteco, near the town of Brumadinho; the slurry was then carried further by Rio Paraopeba; 267 people were killed, and several are still reported missing.
(View details)
2018, June 4 Cieneguita mine, Urique, Chihuahua, Mexico Minera Rio Tinto (Cluster Minero de Chihuahua A.C. ) gold, silver tailings dam failure 249,000 m3 of tailings and 190,000 m3 of embankment material Dam failure results in tailings release travelling 29 km downstream; most of the tailings have been deposited along the course of the Cañitas River. The Federal Attorney's Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) says that the tailings don't contain cyanide or any heavy metals. Three workers were killed, two wounded, and four are reported missing.
2018, Mar. 9 Cadia, New South Wales, Australia Newcrest Mining Ltd gold, copper tailings dam failure, mainly due to the existence of a low-density foundation layer in the vicinity of the slump.
> Download: Independent Technical Review Board report , Apr. 17, 2019 (27.6MB PDF)
> View: video (Youtube)
1.33 million m3 of tailings Embankment failure results in "limited breakthrough" of tailings material from the northern to the southern tailings dam. The breakthrough has been contained within the southern tailings dam.
2018, Mar. 3 Huancapatí (Huancapetí), Recuay province, Áncash region, Peru Compañía Minera Lincuna SA (Grupo Picasso) collapse of embankment of tailings dam No. 2 after heavy rain 80,000 m3 of tailings the incident has contaminated crops, the Sipchoc creek and the Santa river
2018, Feb. 17 Barcarena, Pará, Brazil Hydro Alunorte / Norsk Hydro ASA bauxite overflow of red mud basin after heavy rain [the company, however, maintains that no overflow has occured at all!] ? Highly alkaline and metal-laden liquids flooded the surrounding residential areas, rendering the drinking water supply in the area unusable.
> View/Download information provided by Instituto Evandro Chagas (IEC): Mar. 6, 2018 · Mar. 29, 2018 (in Portuguese)

On Mar. 12, 2018, local environmental activist Paulo Nascimento was shot dead in front of his house.

2017, Sep. 17 Kokoya Gold Mine, Bong County, Liberia MNG Gold Liberia (Redwood Global Inc. ) gold rupture of a section of the geo-membrane layer / overflow after heavy rain (?) discharge of 11,500 m3 of slurry containing cyanide into Sien Creek, a major water source for residents in Saywehta Town 30 people became ill as a result of pollution of the creek due to the chemical spill, but this cause for the illnesses reported was later disputed
2017, June 30 Mishor Rotem, Israel Rotem Amfert Negev Ltd. , Israel Chemicals (ICL) phosphate phosphogypsum dam failure 100,000 m3 of acidic waste water The toxic wastewater surged through the dry Ashalim riverbed and left a wake of ecological destruction more than 20 km long
2017, Mar. 12 Tonglvshan Mine, Hubei province, China China Daye Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Limited copper, gold, silver, iron a partial dam failure occurred at the northwestern corner of the tailings pond, opening a crevasse (gap) of approx. 200 metres approx. 200,000 m3 of tailings The tailings flooded the fish pond downstream of approx. 27 hectares. Two persons were reported dead and one was reported missing.
2016, Dec. 28 Satemu, Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar Jade Palace Company jade waste heap failure ? approx. 50 workers missing
2016, Oct. 27 Antamok mine (inactive), Itogon, Benguet province, Philippines Benguet Corp. gold tailings flow through drain tunnel of underground mine after heavy rains at least 50,000 t of tailings (an amount considered "negligible" by the company) The leaked tailings flowed into Liang River, then Ambalanga river before reaching Agno river.
2016, Aug. 27 New Wales plant, Mulberry, Polk County, Florida, USA Mosaic Co phosphate a 14 metre-wide sinkhole appeared in a phosphogypsum stack, opening a pathway for contamined liquid into the underground; the liquid reached the Floridan Aquifer, a major drinking water resource 840,000 m3 of contaminated liquid released (as of Sep. 17, 2016)  
2016, Aug. 8 Dahegou Village, Luoyang, Henan province, China Luoyang Xiangjiang Wanji Aluminium Co., Ltd. bauxite failure of a tailings dam holding about 2 million cubic metres of red mud ? village totally submerged in red mud, around 300 villagers evacuated, many farm and domestic animals killed
2016, Aug. 4 Ujina, Pica, Tamarugal Province, Tarapacá Region, Chile Compañía Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi SCM
(Anglo American plc (44%), Glencore (44%), Japan Collahuasi Resources B.V. (12%))
copper, molybdenum breakage in a tailings transport chute, allegedly caused by an earthquake that occurred in the area 4,500 cubic metres of tailings the spilled toxic material ran into an ancestral grazing area, threatening four specimens of Vicuña, a protected camelid species, and the groundwater
2016, May 22 Ridder, Kazakhstan Kazzinc (Glencore (69.61%)) zinc failure of former "water discharge collector system" (decant tower?) at the Talovsky Tailings Dam ? tailings slurry containing cyanide, zinc, lead, copper and manganese was discharged into the Filippovka River, later reaching Tikhaya River and Ulba River, and was to reach the Siberian city of Omsk 1,100 km downstream around June 2
2015, Dec. 14 Lamaungkone, Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar Tun Tauk Zabu jade mining company jade waste heap failure ? 1 worker killed, approx. 20 others missing
2015, Nov. 23 Taishihe town, Xihe county, Longnan city, Gansu province, China Gansu Longxing Antimony Industry Limited Liability Company antimony drainage well failure 25,000 m3 of tailings and tailings water tailings and tailings water flowed into the adjacent Taishi River (a tributary of the Xihan River, the first branch of the Jialing River). Contamination stemming from tailings flowed into Gansu, Shanxi and Sichuan provinces along the Jialing River, causing serious environmental pollution in these areas.
2015, Nov. 21 San Kat Kuu, Hpakant, Kachin state, Myanmar Hlan Shan Myonwesu, Yadanar Yong Chi, Yadanar Aung Chan jade waste heap failure ? at least 113 people killed
2015, Nov. 5 Germano mine, Bento Rodrigues, distrito de Mariana, Região Central, Minas Gerais, Brazil Samarco Mineração S.A. (50% BHP Billiton , 50% Vale ) iron failure of the Fundão tailings dam due to insufficient drainage, leading to liquefaction of the tailings sands shortly after a small earthquake.
For details, see: The Fundão Tailings Dam Investigation
32 million m3

Video of the flow slide
slurry wave flooded town of Bento Rodrigues, destroying 158 homes, at least 17 persons killed and 2 reported missing; slurry pollutes North Gualaxo River, Carmel River and Rio Doce over 663 km, destroying 15 square kilometers of land along the rivers and cutting residents off from potable water supply; the damage is at least US$ 6.7 billion
2014, Oct. 16 Dos Señores mine, La Concordia, Sinaloa, Mexico Minerales Santa Rosa gold, silver tailings dam failure 10,800 t The tailings traveled approximately 900 meters, affecting the El Charcas or Pánuco stream and threatening the drinking water supply in the area
2014, Sep. 10 Herculano mine, Itabirito, Região Central, Minas Gerais, Brazil Herculano Mineração Ltda iron tailings dam failure ? two workers killed and one missing
2014, Aug. 7 Buenavista del Cobre mine, Cananea, Sonora, Mexico Southern Copper Corp. (Grupo México ) copper tailings dam failure 40,000 m3 of copper sulphate flow into the 420km-long Bacanuchi river waterway, a tributary of the Sonora River, directly affecting 800,000 people.
For details, download: Dictamen Diagnóstico Ambiental Río Sonora, Semarnat, Mayo 2023 (8.2MB PDF - in Spanish)
2014, Aug. 4 Mount Polley mine, near Likely, British Columbia, Canada Imperial Metals Corp. copper, gold tailings dam failure due to foundation failure (view details) 7.3 million m3 of tailings, 10.6 million m3 of water, and 6.5 million m3 of interstitial water tailings flowing into adjacent Polley Lake and, through Hazeltine Creek, into Quesnel Lake (Mitchell Bay)
2014, July 4 Santiago Apóstol mining operation, Tacobamba, Potosí, Bolivia Silver y Tim zinc, silver, lead, tin tailings dam failure more than 30,000 m3 of tailings release into upper Pilcomayo basin
2014, May 15/16 Stolice mine, Kostajnik, Municipality Krupanj, Serbia Farmakom MB antimony collapse of abandoned flotation tailings dam, caused by damage of the dam's drainage system by a landslide that was triggered by heavy rain 100,000 m3 of tailings slurry tailings were released into the Kostajnik River, contaminating 27 km of riverbeds and 360 hectares of agricultural land; after another storm on July 17, tailings again spilled out of the damaged dam and into the Kostajnik
2014, Feb. 2 Dan River Steam Station, Eden, North Carolina, USA Duke Energy coal ash collapse of an old drainage pipe under a 27-acre ash waste pond about 82,000 short tons [74,400 t] of toxic coal ash and 27 million gallons [100,000 m3] of contaminated water ash flowing through drainage pipe into Dan River
2013, Nov. 15-19 Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine , Kajaran, Syunik province, Armenia Cronimet Mining AG copper, molybdenum damage of tailings pipeline ? tailings flowing into Norashenik River for several days
2013, Oct. 31 Obed Mountain Coal Mine, northeast of Hinton, Alberta, Canada Sherritt International coal breach of wall in containment pond spill of 670,000 m3 of coal wastewater and 90,000 tonnes of muddy sediment plume of slurry containing fine coal particles, clay and heavy metals into the Apetowun und Plate creeks and eventually the Athabasca River
2013, Jan. 20 El Herrero mine, Otáez, Barrancas province, Durango state, Mexico Grupo Minero Bacís , Durango, Mexico gold-silver tailings dam failure release of 300,000 m3 of waste four people killed and one injured; Los Remedios river in Durango, San Lorenzo river and El Comedero reservoir in Sinaloa contaminated, fish killed in Los Remedios river 130 km downstream; 300 families lost their incomes from a tilapia fish farm
2012, Dec. 17 former Gullbridge mine site, Newfoundland, Canada   copper embankment dam failure, width 50 m   non-consumption water advisory has been issued for the Town of South Brook (view details - Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation)
2012, Nov. 4 Sotkamo, Kainuu province, Finland Talvivaara Mining Company Plc nickel, (uranium by-product planned) leak from gypsum pond through a "funnel-shaped hole" hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of contaminated waste water nickel and zinc concentrations in nearby Snow River exceeded the values that are harmful to organisms tenfold or even a hundredfold, uranium concentrations more than tenfold (view details)
2012, Aug. 1 Padcal mine, Itogon, Benguet province, Philippines Philex Mining Corp. copper, gold "breach" in tailings pond No.3 during heavy rains 20.6 million t of tailings tailings discharged into the Balog River, which flows to the Agno River.
2011, Jul. 21 Mianyang City, Songpan County, Sichuan Province, China Xichuan Minjiang Electrolytic Manganese Plant manganese tailings dam damaged from landslides caused from heavy rains ? tailings damaged residential roads and houses, forcing 272 people to leave; tailings were washed into the Fujiang River, leaving 200,000 people without drinking water supply
2011, May Bloom Lake mine, Fermont, Québec, Canada Bloom Lake General Partner Ltd. (then 75% owned by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.) iron Dam breach of Triangle tailings pond more than 200,000 m3 of "deleterious materials"
2010, Oct. 4 Kolontár, Hungary
(Aerial View: Google Maps )
MAL Magyar Alumínium bauxite tailings dam failure (view details) 700,000 m3 of caustic red mud several towns flooded, 10 people killed, approx. 120 people injured, 8 square kilometres flooded
2010, Jun. 25 Huancavelica, Peru Unidad Minera Caudalosa Chica ? tailings dam failure 21,420 m3 of tailings contamination of río Escalera and río Opamayo 110 km downstream
2009, Aug. 29 Karamken, Magadan region, Russia Karamken Minerals Processing Plant gold tailings dam failure after heavy rain
(see background info 2004 , press compilation 2009 , update 2012 - SRIC)
more than 1 million m3 of water, 150,000 m3 of tailings, and 55,000 m3 of dams materials eleven homes were carried away by the mudflow; at least one person was killed
2009, May 14 Huayuan County, Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, China ? manganese tailings dam failure (capacity: 50,000 cubic metres) ? The landslide set off by the tailings dam failure destroyed a home, killing three and injuring four people.
2009, April 27 Barcarena, Pará, Brazil Hydro Alunorte / Norsk Hydro ASA bauxite overflow of drainage channels around red mud basin after heavy rain
2008, Dec. 22 Kingston fossil plant, Harriman, Tennessee, USA Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash retention wall failure Release of 5.4 million cubic yards [4.1 million m3] of ashy slurry The ash slide covered 400 acres [1.6 square kilometres] as deep as 6 feet [1.83 metres]. The wave of ash and mud toppled power lines, covered Swan Pond Road and ruptured a gas line. It damaged 12 homes, and one person had to be rescued, though no one was seriously hurt.
2008, Sep. 8 Taoshi, Linfen City, Xiangfen county, Shanxi province, China Tashan mining company iron Collapse of a waste-product reservoir at an illegal mine during rainfall 190,000 m3 of tailings A mudslide several metres high flowed 2.5 km downstream, buried a market, several homes and a three-storey building. 277 people are killed and 33 injured.
2007, Nov. 25 Shiqiaozi, Haicheng, Liaoning, China Dingyang Mining Co Ltd (subsidiary of Xiyang Corp.) iron failure of tailings dam holding 150,000 cubic metres ? an 80 m-wide mud flow hit 33 homes in the village of Xiangyang and more homes in Caijia; 10 people are killed, 3 reported missing, and 17 injured
2007, Jan. 10 Miraí, Minas Gerais, Brazil Mineração Rio Pomba Cataguases Ltda bauxite tailings dam failure after heavy rain 2 million m3 of mud, containing water and clay ("red mud") the mud flow left about 4000 residents of the cities of Miraí and Muriaé in the Zona da Mata homeless. Crops and pastures were destroyed and the water supply was compromised in cities in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.
2006, Nov. 6 Nchanga, Chingola, Zambia Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM)
(51% Vedanta Resources plc )
copper failure of tailings slurry pipeline from Nchanga tailings leaching plant to Muntimpa tailings dumps ? Release of highly acidic tailings into Kafue river; high concentrations of copper, manganese, cobalt in river water; drinking water supply of downstream communities shut down
2006, April 30 near Miliang, Zhen'an County, Shangluo, Shaanxi Province, China Zhen'an County Gold Mining Co. Ltd. gold tailings dam failure during sixth upraising of dam ? The landslide buried about 40 rooms of nine households, killing 17 residents. Five injured people were taken to hospital. More than 130 local residents have been evacuated. Toxic potassium cyanide was released into the Huashui river, contaminating it approx. 5 km downstream.
2005, April 14 Bangs Lake, Jackson County, Mississippi, USA Mississippi Phosphates Corp. phosphate phosphogypsum stack failure, because the company was trying to increase the capacity of the pond at a faster rate than normal, according to Officials with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (the company has blamed the spill on unusually heavy rainfall, though) approx. 17 million gallons of acidic liquid (64,350 m3) liquid poured into adjacent marsh lands, causing vegetation to die
2004, Nov. 30 Pinchi Lake, British Columbia, Canada Teck Cominco Ltd. mercury dam of former 'emergency spills lagoon' (100-metres long and 12-metres high) collapses during reclamation work 6,000 to 8,000 m3 of rock, dirt and waste water material spilled into 5,500 ha Pinchi Lake
2004, Sep. 5 Riverview, Florida, USA Cargill Crop Nutrition phosphate a dike at the top of a 100-foot-high gypsum stack holding 150-million gallons of polluted water broke after waves driven by Hurricane Frances bashed the dike's southwest corner 60 million gallons (227,000 m3) of acidic liquid liquid spilled into Archie Creek that leads to Hillsborough Bay
2004, May 22 Partizansk, Primorski Krai, Russia Dalenergo coal ash A ring dike, enclosing an area of roughly 1 km2 and holding roughly 20 million cubic meters of coal ash, broke. The break left a hole roughly 50 meter wide in the dam. approximately 160,000 m3 of ash The ash flowed through a drainage canal into a tributary to the Partizanskaya River which empties in to Nahodka Bay in Primorski Krai (east of Vladivostok).
For details download Sept. 2004 report (PDF) by Paul Robinson, SRIC
2004, March 20 Malvési, Aude, France Comurhex (Cogéma/Areva) decantation and evaporation pond of uranium conversion plant dam failure after heavy rain in preceding year (view details) 30,000 m3 of liquid and slurries release led to elevated nitrate concentrations of up to 170 mg/L in the canal of Tauran for several weeks
2003, Oct. 3 Cerro Negro, Petorca prov., Quinta region, Chile Cia Minera Cerro Negro copper tailings dam failure 50,000 tonnes of tailings tailings flowed 20 kilometers downstream the río La Ligua
2003, Aug. 30 Sasa Mine, Macedonia State owned lead-zinc partial dam collapse following failure of an ancillary structure that diverted captured drainage water from Tailings Storage Facility No. 3.1 into the river diversion tunnel 70,000 - 100,000 m3 of tailings tailings flowed 12 kilometers downstream the Kamenica River into Lake Kalimanci
2002, Aug. 27 / Sep. 11 San Marcelino, Zambales, Philippines Dizon Copper Silver Mines, Inc.   overflow and spillway failure of two abandoned tailings dams after heavy rain (view details) ? Aug. 27: some tailings spilled into Mapanuepe Lake and eventually into the Sto. Tomas River
Sep. 11: low lying villages flooded with mine waste; 250 families evacuated; nobody reported hurt so far
2001, Jun. 22 Sebastião das Águas Claras, Nova Lima district, Minas Gerais, Brazil Mineração Rio Verde Ltda iron mine waste dam failure (view details) ? tailings wave traveled at least 6 km, killing at least two mine workers, three more workers are missing
2000, Oct. 18 Nandan Tin mine, Dachang, Guangxi province, China ? tin failure of upstream dam ? 28 people killed; more than 100 houses destroyed
2000, Oct. 11 Inez, Martin County, Kentucky, USA Martin County Coal Corporation (100% A.T. Massey Coal Company, Inc. , Richmond, VA (100% Fluor Corp. )) coal tailings dam failure from collapse of an underground mine beneath the slurry impoundment (view details) 250 million gallons (950,000 m3) of coal waste slurry released into local streams About 75 miles (120 km) of rivers and streams turned an irridescent black, causing a fish kill along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River and some of its tributaries. Towns along the Tug were forced to turn off their drinking water intakes.
2000, Sep. 8 Aitik mine, Gällivare, Sweden Boliden Ltd. copper tailings dam failure from insufficient perviousness of filter drain (view details) release of 2.5 million m3 of liquid into an adjacent settling pond, subsequent release of 1.5 million m3 of water (carrying some residual slurry) from the settling pond into the environment  
2000, Mar. 10 Baia Borşa, Maramureş County, Romania Remin S.A., Baia Mare copper, lead, zinc failure of the Novaţ-Roşu tailings dam after heavy rain 20,000 t of heavy-metal contaminated tailings and 100,000 m3 of contaminated water contamination of the Vaser stream, tributary of the Tisza River.
View Romanian Govt. report · UNEP report (527k PDF)
2000, Jan. 30 Baia Mare, Romania Aurul S.A. (Esmeralda Exploration , Australia (50%), Remin S.A. (44.8%)) gold recovery from old tailings tailings dam crest failure after overflow caused from heavy rain and melting snow (view details) 100,000 m3 of cyanide-contaminated liquid contamination of the Somes/Szamos stream, tributary of the Tisza River, killing tonnes of fish and poisoning the drinking water of more than 2 million people in Hungary
1999, Apr. 26 Placer, Surigao del Norte, Philippines Manila Mining Corp. (MMC) gold tailings spill from damaged concrete pipe 700,000 tonnes of cyanide tailings 17 homes buried, 51 hectares of riceland swamped
1998, Dec. 31 Huelva, Spain Fertiberia , Foret phosphate dam failure during storm (view details) 50,000 m3 of acidic and toxic water  
1998, Apr. 25 Los Frailes, Aznalcóllar, Spain Boliden Ltd. , Canada zinc, lead, copper, silver dam failure from foundation failure (view details) 4-5 million m3 of toxic water and slurry thousands of hectares of farmland covered with slurry
1997, Dec. 7 Mulberry Phosphate, Polk County, Florida, USA Mulberry Phosphates, Inc. phosphate phosphogypsum stack failure 200,000 m3 of phosphogypsum process water biota in the Alafia River eliminated
1997, Oct. 22 Pinto Valley, Arizona, USA BHP Copper copper tailings dam slope failure 230,000 m3 of tailings and mine rock tailings flow covers 16 hectares
1996, Nov. 12 Amatista, Nazca, Peru ? ? liquefaction failure of upstream-type tailings dam during earthquake more than 300,000 m3 of tailings flow runout of about 600 meters, spill into river, croplands contaminated
1996, Aug. 29 El Porco, Bolivia Comsur (62%), Rio Tinto (33%) zinc, lead, silver dam failure 400,000 tonnes 300 km of Pilcomayo river contaminated
1996, Mar. 24 Marcopper, Marinduque Island, Philippines Placer Dome Inc. , Canada (40%) copper Loss of tailings from storage pit through old drainage tunnel 1.6 million m3 Evacuation of 1200 residents, 18 km of river channel filled with tailings, US$ 80 million damage
1995, Dec. Golden Cross, New Zealand Coeur d'Alène , Idaho, USA gold Dam movement of dam containing 3 million tonnes of tailings (continuing) (view details ) Nil (so far) Nil (so far)
1995, Sep. 2 Placer, Surigao del Norte, Philippines Manila Mining Corp. gold Dam foundation failure 50,000 m3 12 people killed, coastal pollution
1995, Aug. 19 Omai, Guyana Cambior Inc. , Canada (65%), Golden Star Resources Inc., Colorado, USA (30%) gold tailings dam failure from internal dam erosion (preliminary report on technical causation) 4.2 million m3 of cyanide slurry 80 km of Essequibo River declared environmental disaster zone (view details )
1994, Nov. 19 Hopewell Mine, Hillsborough County, Florida, USA IMC-Agrico phosphate dam failure Nearly 1.9 million m3 of water from a clay settling pond spill into nearby wetlands and the Alafia River, Keysville flooded
1994, Oct. 2 Payne Creek Mine, Polk County, Florida, USA IMC-Agrico phosphate dam failure 6.8 million m3 of water from a clay settling pond majority of spill contained on adjacent mining area; 500,000 m3 released into Hickey Branch, a tributary of Payne Creek
1994, Oct. Fort Meade, Florida, USA Cargill phosphate ? 76,000 m3 of water spill into Peace River near Fort Meade
1994, June IMC-Agrico, Florida, USA IMC-Agrico phosphate Sinkhole opens in phosphogypsum stake ? Release of gypsum and water into groundwater
1994, Feb. 22 Harmony, Merriespruit, South Africa Harmony Gold Mines gold Dam wall breach following heavy rain 600,000 m3 tailings traveled 4 km downstream, 17 people killed, extensive damage to residential township
1994, Feb. 14 Olympic Dam, Roxby Downs, South Australia WMC Ltd. copper, uranium leakage of tailings dam during 2 years or more release of up to 5 million m3 of contaminated water into subsoil ?
1994 Daye Iron Ore mine, Longjiaoshan, Hubei, China ? iron faillure of upstream dam ? 31 people killed
1993, Oct. Gibsonton, Florida, USA Cargill phosphate ? ? Fish killed when acidic water spilled into Archie Creek
1993 Marsa, Peru Marsa Mining Corp. gold dam failure from overtopping ? 6 people killed
1992, Mar. 1 Maritsa Istok 1, near Stara Zagora, Bulgaria ? ash/cinder dam failure from inundation of the beach 500,000 m3 ?
1992, Jan. No.2 tailings pond, Padcal, Luzon, Philippines Philex Mining Corp. copper Collapse of dam wall (foundation failure) 80 million tonnes ?
1991, Aug. 23 Sullivan mine, Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada Cominco Ltd lead/zinc dam failure (liquefaction in old tailings foundation during construction of incremental raise) 75,000 m3 the slided material was contained in an adjacent pond
1989, Aug. 25 Stancil, Perryville, Maryland, USA ? sand and gravel dam failure during capping of the tailings after heavy rain 38,000 m3 tailings flowside covered 5000 m2
1988, Apr. 30 Jinduicheng, Shaanxi province, China ? molybdenum breach of dam wall (spillway blockage caused pond level to rise too high) 700,000 m3 approx. 20 people killed
1988, Jan. 19 Tennessee Consolidated No.1, Grays Creek, TN, USA Tennessee Consolidated Coal Co. coal dam wall failure from internal erosion, caused from failure of an abandoned outlet pipe 250,000 m3 ?
1988 Riverview, Florida, USA Gardinier (now Cargill ) phosphate ? acidic spill Thousands of fish killed at mouth of Alafia River
1987, April 8 Montcoal No.7, Raleigh County, West Virginia, USA Peabody Coal Co. (now Peabody Energy) coal dam failure after spillway pipe breach 87,000 cubic meters of water and slurry tailings flow 80 km downstream
1986, May Itabirito, Minas Gerais, Brazil Itaminos Comercio de Minerios ? dam wall burst 100,000 tonnes tailings flow 12 km downstream
1986 Huangmeishan, China ? iron dam failure from seepage/slope instability ? 19 people killed
1985, Aug. 25 Niujiaolong, Hunan, China Shizhuyuan Zinc Mine Company copper failure of upstream dam after debris inflow caused by heavy rainstorms 730,000 m3 of tailings tailings flow 4.2 km downstream, destroy many houses, 49 people killed
1985, July 19 Stava, Trento, Italy Prealpi Mineraia fluorite dam failure, caused from insufficient safety margins and inadequate decant pipe construction
(view details)
200,000 m3 tailings flow 4.2 km downstream at 90 km/h; 268 people killed, 62 buildings destroyed
(view details)
1985, Mar. 3 Veta de Agua No.1, Chile ? copper dam wall failure, due to liquefaction during earthquake 280,000 m3 tailings flow 5 km downstream
1985, Mar. 3 Cerro Negro No.4, Chile Cia Minera Cerro Negro copper dam wall failure, due to liquefaction during earthquake 500,000 m3 tailings flow 8 km downstream
1985 Olinghouse, Wadsworth, Nevada, USA Olinghouse Mining Co. gold embankment collapse from saturation 25,000 m3 tailings flow 1.5 km downstream
1982, Nov. 8 Sipalay, Negros Occidental, Philippines Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. copper dam failure, due to slippage of foundations on clayey soils 28 million tonnes widespread inundation of agricultural land up to 1.5 m high
1981, Dec. 18 Ages, Harlan County, Kentucky, USA Eastover Mining Co. coal dam failure after heavy rain 96,000 m3 coal refuse slurry the slurry wave traveled the Left Fork of Ages Creek 1.3 km downstream, 1 person was killed, 3 homes destroyed, 30 homes damaged, fish kill in Clover Fork of the Cumberland River
1981, Jan. 20 Balka Chuficheva, Lebedinsky, Russia ? iron dam failure 3.5 million m3 tailings travel distance 1.3 km
1980, Oct. 13 Tyrone, New Mexico, USA Phelps Dodge copper dam wall breach, due to rapid increase in dam wall height, causing high internal pore pressure 2 million m3 tailings flow 8 km downstream and inundate farmland
1979, July 16 Church Rock, New Mexico, USA United Nuclear uranium dam wall breach, due to differential foundation settlement 370,000 m3 of radioactive water, 1,000 tonnes of contaminated sediment Contamination of Rio Puerco sediments up to 110 km downstream
1979 or earlier (unidentified), British Columbia, Canada ? ? piping in the sand beach of the tailings dam 40,000 m3 of ponded water considerable property damage
1978, Jan. 31 Arcturus, Zimbabwe Corsyn Consolidated Mines gold slurry overflow after continuous rain over several days 30,000 tonnes 1 person killed, extensive siltation to waterway and adjoining rough pasture
1978, Jan. 14 Mochikoshi No.1, Japan Mochikoshi Gold Mining Company gold dam failure, due to liquefaction during earthquake 80,000 m3 1 person killed, tailings flow 7-8 km downstream
1977, Feb. 1 Homestake, Milan, New Mexico, USA Homestake Mining Company uranium dam failure, due to rupture of plugged slurry pipeline 30,000 m3 no impacts outside the mine site
1976, Mar. 1 Zlevoto, Yugoslavia ? lead, zinc dam failure, due to high phreatic surface and seepage breakout on the embankment face 300,000 m3 tailings flow reached and polluted nearby river
1975, June Silverton, Colorado, USA ? (metal) dam failure 116,000 tonnes tailings flow slide polluted nearly 100 miles (160 km) of the Animas river and its tributaries; severe property damage; no injuries
1975, Apr. Madjarevo, Bulgaria ? lead, zinc, gold rising of tailings above design level caused overloading of the decant tower and collectors 250,000 m3 ?
1975 Mike Horse, Montana, USA ? lead, zinc dam failure after heavy rain 150,000 m3 ?
1974, Nov. 11 Bafokeng, South Africa ? platinum embankment failure by concentrated seepage and piping through cracks 3 million m3 12 people killed in a mine shaft inundated by the tailings; tailings flow 45 km downstream
1974, Jun. 1 Deneen Mica, North Carolina, USA ? mica dam failure after heavy rain 38,000 m3 tailings released to an adjacent river
1973 (unidentified), Southwestern USA ? copper dam failure from increased pore pressure during construction of incremental raise 170,000 m3 tailings traveled 25 km downstream
1972, Oct. 20 Brunita, Cartagena, Spain SMM Peñaroya zinc, lead dam failure after heavy rain 70,000 m3 the tailings affected a highway, a railway line, the electricity and telephone networks, and destroyed the cemetery of La Union; one person was killed
1972, Feb. 26 Buffalo Creek, West Virginia, USA Pittston Coal coal collapse of tailings dam after heavy rain (view Citizens' Commission report ) 500,000 m3 the tailings traveled 27 km downstream, 125 people lost their lives, 500 homes were destroyed. Property and highway damage exceeded $65 million. (see details )
1971, Dec. 3 Fort Meade, Florida, USA Cities Service Co. phosphate Clay pond dam failure, cause unknown 9 million m3 of clay water tailings traveled 120 km downstream with Peace River, large fish kill
1971, Oct. 30 Certeju de Sus, Hunedoara County, Romania ? gold tailings dam failure 300,000 cubic metres of tailings tailings flooded a radius of around 4–5 km around the impoundment, they flowed towards the town of Certej, destroying several buildings, killing 89 and injuring 76 people
1970 Mufulira, Zambia ? copper liquefaction of tailings, flowing into underground workings some 1 million tons 89 miners killed
1970 Maggie Pie, United Kingdom ? china clay dam failure after raising the embankment and after heavy rain 15,000 m3 tailings spilled 35 meters downstream
1969 or earlier Bilbao, Spain ? ? dam failure (liquefaction) after heavy rain 115,000 m3 major downstream damage and loss of life
1968 Hokkaido, Japan ? ? dam failure (liquefaction) during earthquake 90,000 m3 tailings traveled 150 meters downstream
1967, Mar. Fort Meade, Florida, USA Mobil Chemical phosphate dam failure, no details available 250,000 m3 of phosphatic clay slimes, 1.8 million m3 of water spill reaches Peace River, fish kill reported
1967 (unidentified), United Kingdom ? coal dam failure during regrading operations ? tailings flow covered an area of 4 hectares
1966 (unidentified), East Texas, USA ? gypsum dam failure 76,000 - 130,000 m3 of gypsum flow slide traveled 300 meters; no fatalities
1966 Derbyshire, United Kingdom ? coal dam failure from foundation failure 30,000 m3 tailings traveled 100 meters downstream
1966, Oct. 21 Aberfan, Wales, United Kingdom Merthyr Vale Colliery coal dam failure (liquefaction) from heavy rain 162,000 m3 the tailings traveled 600 meters, 144 people were killed (view details , watch video )
1966, Oct. 9 Geising/Erzgebirge, German Democratic Republic VEB Zinnerz tin collapse of stream deviation tunnel located under the Tiefenbachtal tailings dam 70,000 m3 the iron oxide slurry reached the Müglitz river and then the Elbe river, coloring it red until Hamburg
1966, May 1 Mir mine, Sgorigrad, Bulgaria ? lead, zinc, copper, silver, (uranium?) dam failure from rising pond level after heavy rains and/or failure of diversion channel 450,000 m3 the tailings wave traveled 8 km to the city of Vratza and destroyed half of Sgorigrad village 1 km downstream, killing 488 people. (View details · historic photographs )
1965, Mar. 28 Bellavista, Chile ? copper dam failure during earthquake 70,000 m3 tailings traveled 800 meters downstream
1965, Mar. 28 Cerro Negro No.3, Chile ? copper dam failure during earthquake 85,000 m3 tailings traveled 5 km downstream
1965, Mar. 28 El Cobre New Dam, Chile ? copper dam failure (liquefaction) during earthquake 350,000 m3 tailings traveled 12 km downstream, destroyed the town of El Cobre and killed more than 200 people
1965, Mar. 28 El Cobre Old Dam, Chile ? copper dam failure (liquefaction) during earthquake 1.9 million m3
1965, Mar. 28 La Patagua New Dam, Chile ? copper dam failure (liquefaction) during earthquake 35,000 m3 tailings traveled 5 km downstream
1965, Mar. 28 Los Maquis, Chile ? copper dam failure (liquefaction) during earthquake 21,000 m3 tailings traveled 5 km downstream
1965 Tymawr, United Kingdom ? coal dam failure from overtopping ? tailings traveled 700 meters downstream, causing considerable damage
1963, Oct. 14 El Descargador, Cartagena-La Unión, Murcia province, Spain Belleza group iron, zinc, lead, silver tailings dam failure due to static liquefaction 66,000 m3 of tailings and high acidic waters the release affected an area of 4 km2, different infrastructures (Cartagena-Cabo de Palos highway, the Cartagena-Los Blancos railroad), the watercourse of Beal wadis stream, and the El Mar Menor lagoon, an area of great ecological and patrimonial value in the Mediterranean Sea
1962, Sep. 26 Huogudu, Gejiu, Yunnan, China Yunnan Tin Group Co. tin failure of upstream dam after three days of moderate rainfall 3.3 million m3 of tailings and 380,000 m3 of water tailings flowed 4.5 km downstream and destroyed 11 villages, 171 people were killed, 92 injured, 13,970 homeless
1962 Almivirca, Peru Quiruvilca ? dam failure (liquefaction) during earthquake and after heavy rainfall ? damage to agriculture and infrastructure
1961 Tymawr, United Kingdom ? coal dam failure, no details available ? tailings traveled 800 meters downstream
tonnes = metric tonnes


and many others.

> See also: Chronology of uranium tailings dam failures

A compilation comprising many more tailings dam failures can be found here:
> Download: The Risk, Public Liability, & Economics Of Tailings Storage Facility Failures , by Lindsay Newland Bowker and David M. Chambers, July 21, 2015 (748kB PDF)

This page first published here on May 1, 1998

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