Casa Berardi Mine - Paste Fill System Development & Design

Symposium 2015 Rouyn-Noranda
Mr Maureen McGuiness (Paterson & Cooke)
Hecla commissioned their paste plant at Casa Berardi in 2013, however work on the project began much earlier. Over the previous decade, paste fill had been proposed for Casa Berardi through one form or another. More recently (2010), Paterson & Cooke (P&C) conducted a study to trade off several options for paste backfill production and delivery to the future mining areas. This was narrowed to two options involving trucking or pumping paste fill a distance of 4km overland with the initial result of trucking as the superior option. The study was revisited two years later with additional engineering, an altered mining plan and updated power, labour and binder costs to provide a higher degree of confidence. In this subsequent study, trucking was compared with overland pumping of slurry to a location where paste could be produced directly over the mine. This design provided further financial and operational benefits and was selected for further development.

P&C’s laboratory analysis of the tailings material determined characteristics for slurry transportation and paste production and distribution. On site testing of the paste fill in a flow loop was performed to provide production scale rheological data. Recommendations on the pipeline, paste plant, and underground distribution system designs were made based on the information gathered through test work. P&C returned to site to assist with the successful commissioning and start-up of the paste plant and underground distribution system in the fall of 2013.

This paper describes the work done and the outcomes over the course of the Casa Berardi paste fill system development process.
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