3D Modelling of Mine Backfill
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 2017
"Numerical modeling has been used extensively to assess the stability of surface and underground mines. Tabular, steeply dipping ore bodies are generally mined out by open stoping methods with delayed backfill. Cemented rockfill (CRF) is employed as a backfill material for narrow vein deposits with low production rates. Sublevel stoping methods with delayed backfill are employed to mine out steeply dipping ore bodies. Backfill is exposed to blast-induced vibrations and dynamic loading due to loss of confinement, which could lead to backfill failures. Backfill failures could influence the operating cost of a mining stope and the productivity of the entire mining project. This work shows a detailed overview of the factors contributing to backfill failure. A detailed literature review is presented along with case studies of longhole stoping operations from the Canadian Shield region for this work. The backfilled stopes are analyzed with the finite difference code FLAC3D. The literature review shows that the factors primarily responsible for fill failure are the strength of backfill, stope geometry, mining sequence, and blast-induced vibrations. INTRODUCTION Sublevel stoping methods with delayed backfill are popular in Canadian hardrock and metal mines. Backfill facilitates ground control and greater recovery of ore with pillar mining. It reduces wall slough, thus decreasing ore dilution from adjacent walls. The production of cemented rockfill (CRF) is simple; rock aggregates are mixed together with cement slurry and then placed in a mined-out stope. CRF has a low water content, thus it requires no additional drainage unlike some other backfill. Low water-to-cement ratio enables faster curing rate, hence a faster mining cycle can be achieved (Annor, 1999; Hassani and Archibald, 1998; McKay and Duke, 1989). CRF is generally placed in stopes from the upper sill drift using a truck or a load haul dump machine. Some of the problems associated with CRF are the moderate to high operational cost, the difficulty to get a tight filling, and segregation. Backfill failure is a product of many factors, such as cementation, particle size distribution, placement method employed, water quality, segregation, and blast-induced vibrations. The problem of segregation in aggregates has been observed when aggregate is dumped from a backfill raise (Meech, 2012; Indiana DOT, 2013). Segregation becomes unavoidable when the aggregates are not properly sized (Yu and Counter, 1983; Stone, 2007; Yu, 1989). The exposed backfill zones will contribute to ore dilution due to backfill when subjected to dynamic loading due to fill failures. This paper presents a detailed literature review and numerical modeling results of a mine backfill, along with case studies from longhole stoping operations. The backfilled stopes are analyzed with the finite difference code FLAC3D (Itasca, 2017). The literature review shows that the primary factors responsible for fill failure are the strength of backfill, geometry of stope, sequence of mining, and the vibrations induced by blasting operations."