Date of Graduation


Document Type

Problem/Project Report

Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Brijes Mishra

Committee Member

Yi Luo

Committee Member

Jeremy Gouzd


The collapse of Dam I, tailings dam, at Vale S.A.’s (“Vale”) of the Córrego do Feijão Iron Ore Mine in Brazil was an accident that caused over 270 casualties and made irreparable damage to the surrounding environment. The exact reason for the failure is not known however, liquefaction was suspected to be the most influencing factor in the failure. Liquefaction failure of impoundment is increasing concern in the mining community and especially mine planners who will have to design and build the tailings dam. Different design methods are available with varied degree of challenges. Upstream construction methods, as one of the tailings dam types, is more susceptible to liquefaction. To investigate the effect of tailings on the impoundments, the research effort in this report determined four scenarios that affected the impoundment. Slide2, a two dimensional limit equilibrium based program was used to analyze four parametric conditions for predicting the failure of the impoundment. Each scenario represents a unique case where number of external and internal factors simulated the field condition. In addition to the safety factor, regression analysis was conducted to predict the future Factor of Safety by varying parameters such as cohesion, relative density, and friction angle. Analysis of the given scenarios showed significant sections of the dam stressed due to the weight of the tailings with high internal water level.