In July 1985, the tailings dam of the Prestavel fluorite mine in northern Italy collapsed, causing the deaths of 268 people. Since the end of World War II the mine had a number of owners, but from 1980 to the time of the dam collapse, it was managed by Prealpi Mineraria. The mine tailings had been stored in two upstream cascading dams, built on a small tributary of the Stava Creek. Around lunch time on a summer’s day, the upper dam collapsed without warning onto the lower dam, which subsequently also collapsed. Approximately 180 000 cubic metres of semi-fluid tailings were released, burying the downstream villages of Stava and Tesero.
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From collection: Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident