Chad LePoudre


CIM Distinguished Lecturers

Based in Calgary and Saskatoon, D. Chad LePoudre, P.Eng., is vice president of geoscience and materials testing at SNC-Lavalin. He has 15 years’ experience overseeing many geotechnical and geoenvironmental projects, and ten years of non-technical roles in construction, sales, management and finance, which contributed to his experience in business and project management. His professional interests lie primarily within the disciplines of tailings management, including site investigation, design, dam safety management systems (including dam safety reviews), construction management, containment systems, slope stability assessment, instrumentation installation and monitoring, and advanced laboratory testing. LePoudre is a board member and Past President of the Canadian Dam Association, actively involved in several committees working to advance guidance for dams and tailings dams. He also teaches many workshops on dam inspection, dam and tailings safety management systems, slope stability analysis, and conducting dam safety reviews in compliance with CDA guidance.

Distinguished Lecturer 2018-19

Lecture Abstract


Tailings failure case studies, statistics and failure modes

Public concern over safety of tailings dam facilities is growing as recent tailings dam failures in British Columbia (Canada), in 2014, Buenavista del Cobre, Sonora (Mexico) in 2014 and Bento Rodrigues (Brazil) in 2015, have resulted a significant impact to people and the environment. Breaching of tailings dams often results in the sudden release of water and sediments (tailings). These recent events, while highly publicized, are not isolated or particularly unique occurrences. Global record of historical events shows that consequences following these failures have been significant and in some instances catastrophic. Consequences of historical events included loss of life, changes in fluvial geomorphology and slope stability, widespread contamination resulting in loss of terrestrial and aquatic habitat, as well as legal repercussions and lack of public confidence. This presentation will give an overview of several case studies, the empirical statistics of tailings dam failures as well as the root causes of failure.