Quality control problems associated with backfill use in mines

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 972, 1993

J.F. Archibald, P. Lausch and Z.X. He, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Documented underground fill failures have resulted because of the lack of adequate knowledge concerning fill strength and other physical parameters, as well as to a lack of consistent quality of fill materials being used by operators. On the basis of literature review and correspondence with backfill operators at 18 mines throughout the province of Ontario, non-systematic quality control procedures have been shown to exist, both within different levels of single operations and between separate mining operations, which act to provide inferior engineered fill materials and erratic application response in situ. Assessment of existing procedures set by mine operators for determining backfill physical parameters, and recommendation of optimum fill material testing and manufacturing guidelines are presented in this paper. A series of standard fill characterization test procedures are recommended to provide substantial, though not comprehensive, fill behaviour review. The purpose of these recommendations is to propose industry standards for backfill quality review. Data acquired could be utilized for fill design functions and as a means of comparing fill quality parameters between sites in a regular and more systematic fashion than is presently done.