26 February 2017
Kakanj – an enormous mine waste landslide in Bosnia last Friday
On Friday of last week, an enormous landslide occurred at Kakanj in Bosnia. It is reported that this is a failure of a huge waste pile from the Kakanj Coal Mine. Reports indicate that 150 people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the villages of Ribnica and Mramor. The landslide has also blocked a river.
The best images that I have been able to find are contained in this drone footage that has been been posted on Youtube by Radio Sarajevo:
From the above video I have extracted this image, which shows the extent of the failed mass. I have drawn in the boundaries of the mine waste landslide as they appear on this image:
This is clearly a very large failure. The image below shows the site on Google Earth (from 2013) – rough measurements from this image suggest something like 600 m in width and 800 metres or more in length. If we assume an average depth of 20 metres, which may well be an underestimate, that would give a volume of about 10 million cubic metres.
But I am not sure that the existing landslide is the whole story at Kakanj. The video shows that further along the slope, towards the main valley, there is another rather large break in the road:
I don’t know what this break represents, and I cannot speculate, but if I was investigating this slope I’d want to know. It could be unrelated. In the meantime the site needs investigation and monitoring. Fortunately, according to the Google Translate version of this article, there are drainage tunnels that are preventing the impounded water from building up.