Geotechnical aspects of hydraulic filling of underground mine stopes in Australia

Sivakugan, Nagaratnam, Rankine, Kirralee , and Rankine, Rudd (2005) Geotechnical aspects of hydraulic filling of underground mine stopes in Australia. In: Indraratna, Buddhima, Chu, Jian, and Hudson, John A., (eds.) Ground Improvement: case histories. Geo-Engineering Book Series, 3 . Elsevier , Oxford, UK, pp. 513-538.

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Abstract

Mining for minerals creates large voids underground which have to be backfilled to provide regional stability for subsequent mining operations. Hydraulic fill is one of the most popular backfill materials used to fill these underground voids, and is generally placed in the form of a slurry at water contents in the range of 30-45%. Porous brick barricades are placed across horizontal access drives to retain the hydraulic fill, allowing free drainage and enabling the hydraulic fill to settle under its self-weight. Several accidents have been reported worldwide, where the porous brick barricades have failed, resulting in an inrush of the hydraulic fill slurry into the drives claiming lives of miners and causing heavy economic losses. A recent example of this is the barricade failure at Bronzewing Mine in Western Australia, where three miners were killed. The problems associated with the hydraulic filling of mine stopes in Australia, with special references to the numerical modelling and laboratory studies carried out to improve the current state-of-the-art in hydraulic filling of underground mines are discussed in this chapter. At James Cook University, extensive laboratory tests were carried out on more than 25 different hydraulic fills obtained from five different mines, in an attempt to fully understand their behaviour and to develop a geotechnical database for the mines. The data from laboratory tests compare well with the in situ measurements. Tests were also carried out on two types of porous barricade bricks that are commonly used in Australia, to quantify their permeability and load-deformation characteristics. Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua (FLAC) and Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua in 3-dimensions (FLAC3D) were used to numerically model the drainage through the hydraulic fills and the stress developments within the fill. Due to arching mechanism, the vertical normal stresses within the stopes are significantly reduced. Typical parameters for hydraulic fills and porous barricade bricks are given in this chapter and these would be very valuable in numerical modelling exercises when no other data are available.

Item ID: 7368
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: drainage; hydraulic fill; mining; permeability
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ISBN: 978-0-08-044633-2
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2010 03:25
FoR Codes: 09 ENGINEERING > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840104 Iron Ore Exploration @ 51%
84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8402 Primary Mining and Extraction Processes of Mineral Resources > 840204 Mining and Extraction of Iron Ores @ 49%
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