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Barricade Design

Good barricade design is a key to effective backfill exercises.

Don’t put your mine at risk with sub-standard backfill barricade designs — let our expert team assist you and work with your on-site engineers to ensure that all backfill processes are carried out to the highest standards.

The process of backfilling is commonly used as a ground support tool in many underground mines around the world. The re-introduction of post-processing materials into stopes, tunnels, and other open excavations can provide confinement to the walls, stope backs, etc. When tightly packed, this backfill acts as a support mechanism that can vastly increase the overall stability of the mine.

An added benefit of backfilling is that the support it provides can allow for the removal of pillars left in place during the initial extraction. Once cured, the placed backfill will form a new pillar, thereby facilitating the removal of secondary pillars or the next cut.

Today’s standard sees backfill introduced to the mine in the form of a thick paste made up of backfill material (tailings and/or alluvial sands), water, and cement as a hardener (this mixture is often referred to as Cemented Paste Backfill/CPB).  This CPB mix is then held in place by one or more backfill barricades while it drains and hardens.

The barricades constructed to retain the backfill during the settling (hydraulic fills) and hardening phases need to be carefully and competently designed. A poor barricade design can lead to the construction of barricades that do not function as envisaged, which can jeopardize the effectiveness of the entire backfill exercise. Even worse, a poorly designed barricade that fails can have a catastrophic effect on the mine and its overall stability.

Backfill barricade design is a specialised activity that should only be undertaken by expert engineers with the requisite skills and knowledge, and prior experience with successful barricade design work. At Mine Design Engineering (MDEng), we have a team of expert engineers who have the knowledge, expertise and experience to serve as specialist consultants/advisors in a range of specific disciplines, including barricade design.