This paper first provides an overview of the evolution of tailings dam engineering over the years. It then highlights key factors affecting seismic performance of tailings dams: such as site seismicity, foundation and damfill geotechnical characteristics, dam design, construction, operation and decommissioning, seismic slope stability, and dam rehabilitation. Finally, it reviews some of the recent trends that lead to new challenges to the engineering profession. These challenges include: coping with heightened public concern about dam safety; balancing potential conflict between seismic and environmental requirements; and addressing issues introduced by globalisation of the mining industry. Institutional responses and technological tools available to meet these challenges are outlined.
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