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Case Study – Underhand Cut and Fill Stoping using Cemented Tailings Paste Fill at the Lanfranchi Nickel Mine


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Author J Foster, S Jessop and P Andrews
ID P201103023


The Lanfranchi Nickel mine is located approximately 48 km south of Kambalda
in Western Australia. Mining first commenced in the mid-1970s under the previous
owner, Western Mining Corporation Ltd. After two years on care and maintenance,
Panoramic Resources (previously known as Sally Malay Mining Ltd) purchased the
operation in November 2004. The site currently produces approximately 10 000
tonnes of nickel metal annually from approximately 430 000 tonnes of ore. The
Ore is mined from four main orebodies; Deacon, Helmut South, Lanfranchi and
Schmitz. The Helmut South orebody is situated approximately 790 m below surface
and extends to a resource depth of 940 m. Horizontal thickness of the orebody
ranges from 10 m to 45 m in width, with the average being 30 m. Previous mining
at the Lanfranchi operations specifically the Helmut orebody, had a history of
seismic activity. When Panoramic Resources acquired the operation it was decided
that seismicity was going to be an issue and therefore a mining method needed to
be selected that could effectively manage this potential risk. The dip of the
orebody is quite shallow at 45º, with a 30º plunge to the south . The
hanging-wall comprises of very weak ultramafics. Due to these factors the
orebody posed several mining challenges. To safely and effectively mine the
Helmut South orebody in the Lanfranchi Nickel mine, underhand cut and fill
mining was selected as the most appropriate mining method. Paste fill comprising
of cemented gold tailings was the backfill of choice. This paper is intended to
convey some of the key learnings from the use of a mining method that has not
been commonly practiced in Australia.

Foster, J,
Jessop, S and Andrews, P, 2011. Case study – underhand cut
and fill stoping using cemented tailings paste fill at the Lanfranchi nickel
mine, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Underground Operators’

191-200 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy: Melbourne).