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High Pulp Density Hydraulic Fills


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Author Barrett J R, Fuller P G and Miller D R


Hydraulic fill using surface sand deposits or cycloned tailings has been used in underground mining for at least fifty years. Current technology requires a permeable fill and high cement additions for strong fill. Shortages in quantities of acceptable fill with finely ground ore may require rockfill or aggregate to be introduced as a supplement and these usually incur additional distribution costs. Alternative approaches to the problem are now being developed whereby the pulp density of the fill is raised so that it is delivered either as a dense slurry or as a paste. These regimes of fill behaviour are defined together with the plant and pumping techniques required to prepare and deliver the materials. Test techniques to define the different regimes of behaviour are identified and the variation in material properties for fills with varying pulp densities are outlined. The results indicate that high pulp density fills are stronger and have less permeability restrictions than conventional fills and that aggregate can be carried with the pulp. Thus the disadvantage of finer materials can be turned into an economic advantage. Criteria are developed for defining the type of operation suited to this Technology.