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THE MASSIVE 46 STORY TALL STRUCTURE: The Penasquito Mine Tailings Dam

THE MASSIVE 46 STORY TALL STRUCTURE: The Penasquito Mine Tailings Dam

The colossal Penasquito Mine’s tailings dam will reach a stunning height of a 46 story skyscraper over the next decade.  That is, if the mine reopens and is allowed to continue business as usual.  Newmont-Goldcorp suspended operations at Mexico’s second largest silver mine on April 29th, due to a blockade stemming from issues with the local community in regards to water supply concerns and problems with a trucking contractor.

Last year, the Penasquito Mine produced 272,000 oz of gold and over 18 million oz of silver.  However, it plans on producing over 5 million oz of gold and 400+ million oz of silver over the next decade.

After I published my article, MORE TROUBLE IN MEXICO: Second Largest Silver Mine Suspended Operations, I did some research on Penasquito’s tailings dam, and when I saw a photo of the dam, I was literally shocked by its massive size.  I never really gave it much thought about where all the waste ended up after the processing of ore was finished.  It’s a typical problem we all deal with today, OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND.

Let me start by saying that the tailings dam is so large; it surpasses the size of the Penasquito open-pit mine itself. For clarification, the tailings dam (or ponds) are used to store the processed waste slurry after the metals have been extracted.  Here is a layout of the Penasquito Mining Operation:

(image courtesy of Goldcorp 2018 Tailings & Mine Waste Conference PDF report)

As you can see, the tailings dam is 4 kilometers long compared to the Penasquito open-pit mine, which is about half its size.  However, this layout doesn’t give the epic scale of the tailings dam justice.  According to the images in Goldcorp’s 2018 Tailings & Mine Waste Conference PDF, and data from the company’s Feb 2019 Penasquito Mine Tour Presentation, the tailings dam is currently 85 meters tall, or nearly 280 feet in height:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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