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BLAST FROM THE PAST THURSDAY: MERRIESPRUIT TAILINGS DAM FAILURE

On the evening of 22 February 1994, a 2.5-metre high flood poured out of the Merriespruit No 4 tailings dam carrying 600,000 cubic metres of water and tailings over a distance of 4 kilometres through the Virginia suburb of Merriespruit. The flood engulfed 80 homes, taking the lives of 17 people relaxing or sleeping in their homes. The Merriespruit mine’s tailings dam had burst after a torrential thunderstorm that dumped an unprecedented 5 centimetres of water onto the site in the short space of half an hour. The downpour led to the dam’s wall being breached, releasing the flood of water and tailings onto an unsuspecting and peaceful suburbs - Chamber of Mines of South Africa. #mining #flood #walls

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