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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Performance of paste fill fences at Red Lake Mine Hughes, Paul B.

Abstract

Advancements in technology in mining have allowed previously unfeasible ore bodies to be developed. Paste backfill is one technological advancement that has allowed for the development of high-grade, low tonne production when employing the cut and fill mining method. Goldcorp Inc.'s Red Lake Mine currently utilizes this method and is the site for the study of this thesis. Paste backfill (paste) is defined as a mine backfill material that consists of eighty-five percent solids by weight and does not bleed water when placed often consisting of between two and fifteen percent Portland cement by weight. A paste barricade or paste fill fence is a constructed barricade whose purpose is to retain backfill within a mined out stope. The construction of the barricade varies with different operations, for Red Lake Mine the barricade consists of an anchored rebar skeleton covered with an adequate thickness of shotcrete. The majority of the applicable barricade research focuses on hydraulic fill barricades in open stope mining. The barricade pressures in these instances are much larger than those experienced in paste backfill barricades. As such, the current paste loading theory is based on material with a different loading mechanism. Although some research is currently underway, the majority of the barricade research is based on brick barricades and not the shotcrete, rebar skeleton as used at Red Lake. Catastrophic failures of barricades can occur without an understanding of the loading mechanisms. Based on the catastrophic risk, this thesis provides an investigation into the behaviour of the paste backfill and paste barricades at Red Lake Mine in order to provide a safe, cost effective design of paste barricades. This thesis develops an understanding of paste loading mechanisms and barricade capacity derived from a field study of nine instrumented fill fences at Red Lake Mine. Eight of thefences were instrumented to monitor the reaction strain in the fence and the applied pressures during standard production paste pours, the ninth fence was a controlled destructive test that determined the ultimate capacity of the fence. The data for these tests were gathered in real time and was subsequently reduced to assist in analysis. Yield Line Theory, Rankine Theory, strain induced stress, stress vs. strain analysis and numerical modeling were used to develop an understanding of the paste loading mechanisms and the capacity of the paste fill barricades. The analysis determined that the paste backfill behaves as a Rankine-like soil in the initial stages of loading with an average coefficient of lateral earth pressure, Ka, of 0.56. The destructive test determined that the yielding stress of a paste barricade is approximately 100 kPa. Further findings from the research determined that the rate of placement of paste does effect the loads applied to the fence and that the largest pressures exerted on the fill fence occur when paste lines were flushed with water at the end of the pour. This thesis provides an understanding of the paste loading and fill fence interaction with respect to failure. Based on this research the Red Lake Mine should be able to increase production without increasing risk to mine personnel by quantifying the overall loading and strengths of the fill barricade.

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