Authors: Haan, JG

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Haan, JG 2011, 'Comparison of cemented paste backfill and cemented rock fill systems', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Paste 2011: Proceedings of the 14th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 517-522,

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The use of cemented paste backfill in underground mining is recognised as a competitive alternative to cemented hydraulic sand fill and has replaced it as a fill system in many underground mines. Cemented paste backfill has also replaced cemented rock fill in many North American locations, but challenges remain in certain regulatory environments due to water quality requirements and permitting schedule uncertainty. Economic justification for construction of a cemented paste backfill system is generally due to lower operating costs per tonne of ore compared to cemented rock fill. Production constraints imposed by more stringent limits on diesel particulate matter in underground mine air adds a further incentive to mine operators to discontinue use of diesel equipment to deliver and place backfill. As a result, mine operators are evaluating alternative backfill delivery systems. Replacement of a cemented rock fill system with a cemented paste backfill plant will generally allow increased ore haulage and hoisting capacity, potentially adding to the economic justification of paste backfill systems. This paper examines the justification for installation of paste backfill plants for underground mines in Nevada. It includes capital and operating cost comparisons of cemented rock fill plants to cemented paste backfill plants as well as estimated capacity variations for haulage and hoisting in each scenario.

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