Rheology of mineral pastes and its implications on underground pipeline delivery
Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Paste backfill as a means of supporting underground mining is gaining popularity. Despite this trend, engineering and design of mine paste backfill systems are still largely based on empirical methods rather than established scientific principles. Because of a lack of sound understanding of mineral paste flow, some degree of trial and error is often involved during commissioning and operating of new paste fill systems. New operations often have to be built with flexibilities and contingencies, escalating the overall project costs.
This paper reviews the applicability of some scientific and engineering principles to mineral paste flows. Recent experimental data are used to illustrate important points. The phenomenon of mineral paste flow is examined under the context of improving the efficiency and reliability of underground delivery. Gaps in our understanding of mineral paste rheology are pointed out and from those some future research directions naturally emerge. Status and problems of the current engineering and design practice are also briefly discussed.