13 April 2019
Hindalco, Muri: another tailings failure, this time in India
On 9th April 2019 yet another significant tailings failure occurred, this time at the Hindalco works at Muri in Jharkhand, India. The location is 23.364, 85.871.
There are some limited reports of this failure event in the media. For example, the Daily Pioneer has a reasonably detailed report:-
“On Tuesday afternoon, boundary wall of the caustic pond created by Hindalco Ltd to dispose of red mud recovered in the process of extracting aluminum collapsed thus leading to a landslide like situation in Muri near the railway tracks.
“As an impact of the boundary breach, a few dumpers, earth movers and tractors which were parked in the area were buried in the mudslide.”
There are very few images of this event in the media. The best idea of what happened can be gained from a Youtube video posted by R M Kumar:-
This includes the following still:-
Meanwhile Bhaskar.com has this image:-
Both images appear to show significant failures through gabian walls. To me, to support a tailings pile on this scale with gabian structures is something of a surprise. An inquiry has been ordered; it will be interesting to see what it shows.
Planet Labs have captured the aftermath of the tailings failure via their Planetscope satellites. This is an image of the area before the failure:
Whilst this is the aftermath:-
The images suggest that this is a significant failure. Astonishingly, it is not clear as to whether there has been loss of life. Some reports suggest up to 20 people may have been killed, but most reports suggest a rather lower human impact. Meanwhile, operations at the plant have been suspended.
Reference and acknowledgement
Planet Team (2019). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://www.planet.com
Thanks to a friend in India who highlighted this event to me.