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Philippines Tailings Dam Failure Displaces Families, Spurs Investigation into Mining Safety (Watch)


Image of Siana site from Google Earth May 11th, 2024. (Image credit: Google Earth)

On May 11th, 2024, a devastating landslide impacted an unused tailings storage facility at Siana in Surigao del Norte, Philippines, resulting in the displacement of at least 55 families. The event occurred early in the morning and, fortunately, did not result in any fatalities, although several homes were destroyed. This facility, known as TSF3, was previously managed by an Australian company, Red 5, but was not actively used by the current operator, Greenstone Resources Corporation (GRC), at the time of the landslide.

The site, which had been involved in gold extraction, includes multiple tailings storage facilities and is near the local village and elementary school. Details of the site and its historical operations are documented on platforms like Google Earth and the TVI website, providing a visual context to the area’s layout and the scale of the operations. The TSF3 facility, in particular, was designed by a global engineering and environmental consultant and constructed by Suricon, highlighting the complex engineering involved in its creation.

Historically, concerns about the structural integrity of the tailings dam emerged in 2014 when it was discovered that the dam wall had been compromised. Subsequent measures were taken to improve the tailings storage facilities after mining operations were temporarily paused. These past incidents underline the importance of robust and ongoing engineering assessments to ensure the safety of such facilities, particularly in areas susceptible to natural events like seismic activity and heavy rainfall.

Footage of Barangay Siana landslide. (Video credit: TreasureHunter TV Youtube Channel)

The landslide’s cause is under investigation, with preliminary reports suggesting that recent seismic activity or heavy rainfall may have triggered the disaster. The Department of Environment and Natural Education (DENR) in the Philippines is conducting a thorough investigation to ascertain the cause, assess the impact on surrounding communities and the environment, and evaluate the integrity of the mine’s tailings facilities, safety systems, and procedures.

This event serves as a critical reminder of the risks associated with abandoned or inactive tailings facilities. It underscores the need for continuous monitoring and maintenance, as well as the application of rigorous engineering standards to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The findings from this investigation will provide valuable insights into how to better manage and mitigate the risks of tailings storage facilities worldwide.


Petley, Dave 2024, ‘The 11 May 2024 tailings failure at Siana in Surigao del Norte, Philippines’, Eos, viewed 28th May 2024, <>


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