A new, updated, or hitherto ignored site on tailings? Tailings.info is new in my view, although the site notes that it has been around a long time. I like it very much and hope they succeed and prosper. The site describes itself thus:

This website is one of two websites that have been built alongside a PhD thesis submitted at the University of Leeds in 2006. The thesis entitled, 'An Expert Management System for Surface Tailings Storage' has been built on the industrial requirements to reduce the associated risks of surface tailings storage. In the thesis the fundamentals of tailings management are discussed as well as the necessity for training and competency testing of tailings related personnel. The research has developed a systematic tailings management system that can be established at any mine site to enhance the consistency of day to day management, reduce risk and increase safety. Accompanying the thesis is an interactive online database that is designed to increase awareness of safe storage practices. This database compliments the managerial components of the thesis by ensuring that the tailings personnel are confident and can implement a tailings management system effectively. The online training resource, known as Tailpro is located at http://www.tailpro.com/.

Most of the material on the site reflects its origins in a research project, but the information is valuable nonetheless. I sought out the information on dry stack tailings and was rapidly informed on the basics, but unassisted on access to the papers by Davies that appear to discuss the topic. One of Davies’ papers is in the InfoMine Library and a powerpoint presentation is available on the internet.

I tried to get into TailPro, but was directed to an e-mail address from which I have received no reply; so staring at me is the front page of the site and I am left thinking of Judith and Bluebeard.

If this site truly is the work of a student, I wonder where he is now—can you make money commensurate with the obvious talent running this site? The other side of the coin is why PhD research should be directed to reparsing the obvious—I thought that was the work of clerics not engineers.

Jon Engels who runs the site has just finished his PhD on tailings management and intends (at his own cost) to keep TailPro and Tailings.info active for a long time into the future. He hopes that both websites will develop over time as a result of user feedback/contribution that will make them both a vital resource for the tailings fraternity. The site is also run as a non profit instructing sponsors to donate to charity. “Its not about making money, it’s about improving the knowledge transfer to the people who operate tailings facilities on a daily basis”, as quoted by Jon.

Jon is about to join Knight Piésold in their Perth offices next month where he will be working on mining and tailings related projects.

Perusing this site gives rise to other cogitations on the nature of the internet and information dissemination. Here are some of those thoughts:

  • How do we keep abreast of the fast development of new sites on a specific topic.
  • How do we integrate the vast store house of knowledge in a small but extensive nook of practice.
  • How do we avoid the sins of repetition and banality that creep fast & furious.
  • Is a wiki perhaps better than a conventional site.
  • Is a blog the way to go.
  • What about Discussion Groups.

I feel like a traveler staring out into the vast horizon unsure if the infinite landscape is desert or jungle, and not knowing what road to take. No doubt it will be fun to watch meme evolution at work as we observe the rise and fall and ebb and flow of sites like this (Tailings.info) and like this (http://technology.infomine.com/TailingsMine/ ).