Tailings are the byproducts left over from mining and extracting resources, such as extracting bitumen from the oilsands or minerals such as copper or gold from ores. Tailings include finely ground rock particles, chemicals used to extract the valuable mineral or oil and water.
Mine tailing ponds pose an environmental hazard due to the erosion processes produced by water and wind. Thus, a correct monitoring and analysis of the tailing pond’s integrity is necessary. Electrical and seismic methods are a great tool for this kind of applications. Water seepage in the structure of the pond can be easily identified by the resistivity contrast with the surrounding material and by minimum negative voltages in SP surveys. On the other hand, seismic methods allow to define anomalous low seismic velocity areas that could be related with a degradation process that could lead to a breach in the pond.