Authors: Cavalcante, PRB; Palkovits, F

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Cavalcante, PRB & Palkovits, F 2013, 'Paste fill – a safety solution for pillar mining', in R Jewell, AB Fourie, J Caldwell & J Pimenta (eds), Paste 2013: Proceedings of the 16th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 443-454,

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MINERAÇÃO CARAÍBA S.A. has been a pioneer in the field of mining and metals processing for 43 years. A key contribution to the field of mining in Brazil has been the use of paste fill in underground mines. Its use has produced extremely successful results, increasing the stability of the rock mass as well as improving the recovery of mineralised bodies. Recovery increases as paste fill allows ore to be recovered which would previously have been left as pillars for the purpose of ground control. Furthermore, paste fill reduces the environmental impact of mining efforts. Paste offers a higher placement density than alternative backfill methods, meaning more tailings can be placed underground. This results in reduced tailings being sent to the surface tailings placement facility, and ultimately reduces the size and cost of the tailings disposal site. This paper describes the background and success of the paste fill system implemented by MINERAÇÃO CARAÍBA S.A., as well as on-going plant modifications. Current improvements to the paste system are being implemented to meet the mine expansion to maximum depths and to reach the most remote mining areas, while simultaneously minimising capital expenditures.

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