9 November 2022
Planet Labs image of the Williamson Diamond Mine tailings dam failure
Clear weather yesterday has allowed Planet Labs to capture a new PlanetScope image of the site of the tailings dam failure at the Williamson Diamond Mine earlier this week:–
The image shows a large (c.150 m) breach in the eastern wall of the facility, confirming initial reports. This is a very substantial breach. It is also noticeable that there has been further flow of tailings from the TSF since the image that was captured yesterday, with wet mine waste through the middle part of the plume. There is an urgent need to prevent any further escapes.
The plume extends for a thalweg distance of about 7.5 km from the site of the breach at the Williamson Diamond Mine. The imagery lacks the resolution needed to see whether the tailings have caused substantial damage to the rivers below this point. Of course there is a danger that the tailings will remobilise in future heavy rainfall events.
It is notable that there is very, very little online about this large tailings dam failure.
Planet Team (2022). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. https://www.planet.com/