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Optimisation of the Paste Fill Cycle at Angas Zinc Mine, Strathalbyn, South Australia


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Author E K Chanda, M Karakus, J Light, B Cook and A Harris


The aim of this research is to develop a model through which the appropriate paste recipe parameters, for example solid content and cement content, can be derived given the stope specific requirements such as stope dimensions, required strength and curing time. A large number of samples and uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) tests were conducted at the Angas Zinc Mine (AZM) paste plant and testing facility. Samples were varied in tailings solids content, cement content and sand content. The results of this testing were modelled to determine the UCS relationship to each of the parameters. The output of this modelling was an easy-to-use program that outputs the design mixture given the stope dimensions and required stope backfill-curing time. This allowed flexibility within the mining schedule for curing times of cemented paste backfill stopes. The optimised schedule using the stope specific mix design, when compared to the standard

14-day curing time used previously, resulted in a smoother
weekly mine production schedule. For the modelled 12-week period (one quarter)
the 14-day curing time would result in an eight-day shutdown of the mill. The
cost for each shutdown is in the order of $125 000/d. Due to the unique nature
of each mine’s tailings, this exact outcome would not be directly applicable to
another paste fill site. However, the process in this report could be followed
for another site to achieve a system similar to the output of this project. This
would ultimately lead to a more optimised backfill and stoping cycle and a more
optimised mine.


Chanda, E K, Karakus, M, Light, J,
Cook, B and Harris, A, 2014. Optimisation of the paste fill cycle at Angas Zinc
Mine, Strathalbyn, South Australia, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM Underground
Operators’ Conference 2014
, pp 259–264 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).