CANMET-MMSL Alternative Binder Technology

Kristie Tarr,
Abstract Portland cement is primarily used to solidify backfill in underground mine workings and it represents a major cost in mining operations. CANMET MMSL has invented an alternative binder technology that does not contain any amount of Portland cement and is made using waste materials, such as development rock and smelter slag. The technology has been successfully tested with many types of base metal and ferrous slag. Research conducted in collaboration with several mining operations in Canada has shown that the CANMET-MMSL binder has considerable potential as a replacement for Portland cement in mine backfill.

An integral part of the overall mining operation, backfill is used for two main purposes: safety and environmental remediation. Depending on the mining method used, backfill provides a working surface, stabilizes stope and pillar walls, as well as the surrounding rock mass, and controls caving of stope backs. Environmentally, disposing of waste material underground rather than on the surface reduces the footprint associated with mining.

There are several benefits associated with the replacement of Portland cement in backfill, including reductions in (i) the footprint by placement of slag waste underground, (ii) the environmental effects and long term liability resulting from disposal and containment of slag waste on surface such as acid rock drainage, (iii) GHG as a result of reduced Portland cement usage (the production of 1 ton of Portland cement produces 1 ton of GHG), and (iv) the significant economic benefits of reduced Portland cement usage.
Keywords: Alternative binder, Backfill
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