APPLICATION OF WICK DRAINS IN BACKFILLED STOPES FOR ACCELERATING THE DRAINAGE
Backfilling has become a popular solution in underground mines around the world. It reduces environmental impact of mining industry and improves ground stability. In most cases, backfill has a high water content so that it can be delivered by pipes from a backfill plant on ground surface to underground stopes. Upon deposition in the stope, the backfill tends to consolidate under its own weight, leading to a generation of excess pore-water pressure. To avoid excessive pressure and protect the backfill barricade installed at the base of the stope, the backfilling of the stopes is usually divided into two stages: plug pour and backfill body pour. The interruption of backfilling operation is undesirable as it slowdowns the mining productivity, and sometimes causes pipe clogging, leading to unexpected increase in manpower cost and further reduction in mining productivity. The backfilling interruption time may be reduced, even eliminated if the drainage of backfilled stopes is sufficiently improved. This paper presents an application of wick drains, a material commonly used in civil engineering, to mine backfilled stopes to help accelerating the drainage. A protocol is proposed for installing the wick drains in a mine stope to be backfilled. Numerical simulations were made, showing that the drainage of the backfill can significantly be improved by the introduction of wick drains. The application of wick drains in mine backfill can thus be considered as a promising technique and merits deeper and more detailed investigation.
stope; stopes; Backfill; Backfills; Backfill; Drainage; Water; Waters; Pressure; Mine;