Fill Back Stability in Open Stope Mining with Consolidated Backfill

CIM Montreal 2003
Sebastien Tolgyesi,
Abstract Paper will be presented by Mr. Sebastien Tolgyesi

When multiple levels are mined in open stope mining with delayed backfill, mining underneath fill is inevitable to achieve higher rate of recovery if no sill pillars are left for the purpose of fill separation or partial ground support. This is particularly true when the orebody has low reserves per unit vertical distance. Instability of the exposed fill back causes stope dilution, production delay and possible equipment damage and consequently increases the mining cost.

Previous studies have concentrated on fill mat stability in cut-and-fill and stability of fill walls in open stope mining. Workers are exposed to the fill back in cut-and-fill and therefore smaller open spans are normally adopted and the fill mat is reinforced. In open stope mining openings with large spans are designed, workers are not exposed to the fill back and its stability has to be maintained by fill of sufficient strength. However, the required fill strength is normally determined by considering different modes of fill wall failure. The fill back stability is usually not analyzed in the fill design process. The lack of analysis on fill back stability for open stope mining is mainly due to difficulties in relating the fill properties to the fill and stope geometry.

In this paper a simplified wedge model is adopted to analyze stability of the exposed fill back in open stope mining with consolidated backfill. The proposed method calculates the factor of safety of the fill back against shear failure under known fill and stope geometry and fill strength parameters in order to assess the fill back stability. It can also be used to determine the required fill strength with known fill and stope geometry. The proposed approach is indirectly validated by mining experience and observations at two operating mines. In addition there are many factors affecting the fill quality and stope configurations in an operating mine. These factors have to be considered in the analysis of fill back stability. This situation is highlighted by presenting an actual mining case where the fill back failed due to factors commonly encountered in mining operations.
Keywords: fill back, open stope, back stability, equipment damage, Dilution, consolidated fill, arch failure, fill strength
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