Using backfill can help solve problems in mines.
Backfilling is a common practice within many underground mines. Basically, this process consists of returning material removed during extraction to the underground part of the mine.
Often backfill material (mostly crushed rock) has a binder, like cement, added before being reintroduced to the mine to help it settle and stabilize. Backfill is placed in worked-out areas of the mine, e.g. stopes (rooms) and tunnels that have already been worked out.
Backfilling in an underground mine offers several benefits; for example:
- The backfill can help to stabilize the mine
- Backfill can make it possible to extract minerals from pillars left in place to support the mine. With the backfill providing support, pillars can be safely removed for extraction, increasing the revenue of the mine.
- By reducing mined-out material from the surface of the mine, backfilling reduces the need for storage space at the surface, improves the aesthetics of the mine and surrounding area, and lessens the environmental impact when the mine is closed at the end of its life cycle.
Like all activities in an underground mine, backfilling is far safer and more efficient if it is properly monitored.
At MDEng, we have world-leading expertise with in-stope backfill monitoring programs.
- Instrumentation packages are offered, ranging from barricade to whole stope installations, to characterize backfill behaviour and maximize efficiency of in-stope delivery.
- Other services include backfill pressure modelling, barricade design and modelling, plant and system analysis, backfill QA/QC, and in situ sampling.
- We also design and manage laboratory test programs for the design and optimization of backfill recipes, analysis of admixture efficiency, binder analysis, etc.
- In situ backfill monitoring data can provide unique opportunities for calibration of mine-wide numerical models and rock mass constitutive properties.