World Mining Congress
Many mines adopt necessarily conservative backfilling strategies due to a lack of understanding of their backfill behaviour. In the past five years, extensive instrumentation campaigns have focused on measuring in-situ cemented paste backfill behaviour. These tests have resulted in optimised backfilling efficiency through elimination or reduction of cure periods where; i) controls on backfill behaviour are understood, and ii) barricade pressures are demonstrated to be within a safe range using routine monitoring as a required QA/QC procedure. Recently, this work has been extended to consider hydraulic backfill operations. Two stopes have been instrumented at Vale’s Coleman and Garson Ramp mines. The instrumentation and deployment methods are discussed, and representative total earth pressure, pore pressure, and temperature data are presented. In one case, pressures in the stope are relatively low as drainage causes strength gain in the fill and so pressures are arched. In a second example, again, drainage causes strength gain in the fill, but increasing temperatures correlate with pressure increases even during downtimes in filling. These pressure increases are thought to be caused by thermal expansion of the backfill in confined locations. Generally, the instrumentation approach has proven successful in measuring hydraulic backfill behaviour and offers good potential for incorporation into a procedure to safely maximise backfilling efficiency through routine barricade pressure monitoring, when combined with safeguards to ensure adequate fill drainage.
Keywords: Pressure; stope; stopes; barricade; Backfill; Backfills; Backfillings; Backfilling; Mines;
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