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Tailing Dams Fiber Optic Monitoring 

Failures of tailings dams are the worst possible case scenario for any mineral extraction operation. Events causing loss of life in the hundreds or even thousands, environmental fines reaching billions of dollars, and the loss of facility infrastructure and production are confronting prospects. 

To prevent tailings dams from failing, HAWK, a leading provider of tailing dams fiber optic monitoring, has developed The Praetorian Geological Stress Detection System for the real-time monitoring of field strain within earthen structures. This revolutionary technology allows monitoring tailing dams with fiber optic sensing cables inserted into the structure through drilled boreholes. These cables monitor field strain and deflection caused by dam loading and report the borehole position and depth where the strain or deflection occurs within the retaining wall structure. Sensitivities achievable with the Praetorian Geological Stress Detection System mean that potential issues with ground shift can be detected and intercepted well before visual symptoms of structural problems appear. 

Contact us today to learn more about our fiber optic tailing dam monitoring system and how we can help your company by monitoring tailing dams with fiber optic sensing.

Learn about the different applications we work in:

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Fiber Optic Sensing Can Determine

  • Sound / Vibration
  • Temperature / Vibration
  • Temperature Only
  • Strain Only
  • Temperature / Vibration / Strain / Sound
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Industries Served

HAWK provides leading pipeline leak detection solutions for a wide variety of industries. We manufacture our products in the U.S. and Australia, allowing us to hone in on our customer’s needs and provide specific solutions. The industries we serve include:

  • Minerals and Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Bulk Handling
  • Chemical and Petrochemical 
  • Power and Energy
  • Food and Beverage
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Aerospace
  • OEMs
  • And more

Principle of Operation

  • Time of Flight: Locations of events can be accurately determined by a method called time of flight. Similar to radar, sonar, and ultrasonic instruments, the amount of time from sending the laser pulse to receiving a return signal is recorded, reporting the strain to a borehole and the depth within that burial.
  • Strain Detection: Brillouin Backscatter is the primary physical principle for sensing temperature and strain within fiber optics. The sensing cable is deployed in boreholes drilled into the dam wall and spaced to intercept geotechnically essential features within the dam wall.
  • Temperature Compensation: Brillouin DTS Temperature profiling within the wall structure is undertaken to prevent ground or groundwater temperature changes from impacting strain measurements within the strata profile. Temperature readings are accurate down to ±0.25°C (±32.45°F), which allows for error-free strain measurement
  • Temperature Detection: One of the significant precursor events to dam failure is the seepage of liquid through the dam wall. Detection of this seepage is possible by utilizing fiber optics embedded in the surface of the dam wall, where the detection of the lower temperature of leaking fluids moves through the warmer structure of the wall. 
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Frequently Asked Questions

Hawks Praetorian Geological Stress Detection System utilized a fibre optic cable which is inserted into strategically placed boreholes within the earthen structure. The spacing, positioning  and depth of these holes vary depending on the geotechnical layout of the wall and the location of the critical slip plant but are typically designed to monitor the critical slip plan as a primary element with an engineered factor of safety of 1.5 . depth is controlled to underpin the critical slip plane by approximately 1 meter and borehole sets are placed approximately 100-200 meters apart.

Hawk provides a modeling service as part of the implementation of the Praetorian Geological Stress Detection System based on site geotechnical reports identifying the critical slip plane and the smaller but significant surface slip planes. 

Hawk also provide detail installation drawings specifying borehole layout, dimension, depth and supplementary earthworks as well as all optical hardware, cables, sensors and communications equipment. 

The Praetorian’s design provides multi-variable sensing of both strain, acoustic and temperature. This allows for detection of not only geological shifts, but also precursor events such as seepage and piping effects, which can be exacerbated by heavy or seasonal rain events. Early detection of these hydrological events allows for early warning of potential outrush or washout events through a combination of vibrational and temperature sensing within the dam wall.

Designed for unmanned operation Praetorian Geological Stress Detection System utilised a web-based application allowing for remote access to site condition from any internet enabled smart device from anywhere in the world. Alerts and alarms at present levels are delivered from a variety of methods depending on the installation configuration including:

  • SMS/Text Message Alert
  • Email Alert
  • Daily/Weekly/Monthly reports
  • Direct Digital Integration (DCS/SCADA)

Alarms and alerts are provided with specific signal details including

  • Signal Type (Strain, Leakage, Seismic)
  • Priority
  • Time stamp and duration
  • GPS coordinates
  • Historical Signal Trend

Yes, we encourage it in fact! We have specially made systems that are shipped all over the world specifically for technology trials.

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