Jagersfontein Dam Collapse


The Jagersfontein Dam Collapse that occurred in 2022, was a structural failure of a mine tailings dam, located in the Free State, which resulted in a mudslide. The slide damaged 20 houses, and 9 houses were completely washed away. Multiple people were hospitalized, missing and 3 bodies were found under the mud. Fortunately, power was restored to the townspeople by the morning, and President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the town. However, on the 28th of September, more of the mudslide occurred and further collapse occurred.

How the collapse occurred:

To understand why this happened, we must understand what the mine is and how it was run. Tailings are the finely ground leftovers after valuable metals are removed from rock ore. Tailings are generally transported jointly with water and deposited in a tailings dam for storage. We noticed that the Jagersfontein dam’s standard of engineering practices was completely outdated. These practices involved mine waste being deposited mainly on one side, erosion gullies forming on the dam wall, and large amounts of ponded water sometimes accumulating against the retaining structure.

From the analyzing the scans taken through our drones, the images show that water flowing through the dam, followed by external erosion, eventually caused the instability. The breaching of the dam is visible on the south side. This is where most of the tailings spilled out from. The mine had also appointed an approved professional person (APP) to oversee the immediate emptying of the remaining compartment 2 of the dam. This had still contained a significant volume of tailings, and was emptied to avoid a secondary disaster from occurring.

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Where we come in:

Delta Scan was called to assist with the search and rescue team at the dam. Our Delta Scan team heard of the collapse and brought in our drones right away to cover the largely afftected. We searched for survivors, bodies and calculated the damages caused by the mudslide. Our main tech is around analytics of digital data. Where we specialize in digitizing infrastructure using drones and laser scanners. This than creates a 3D model, which is called digital twins, out of the data set and we can analyze it through our computers. This was the method we used to analyze the different areas that were damaged or affected, where we duplicated the site into a 3D model. This reduced the dangers of being on site. We also created a digital record which allows us to look back on where problems could have gone wrong or still can go wrong. We than create a rehabilitation plan to prevent any further incidents occurring.