Authors: Brown, R; Smith, N; Carmichael, P

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Brown, R, Smith, N & Carmichael, P 2019, 'One year of paste operations at Jabal Sayid, Saudi Arabia', in AJC Paterson, AB Fourie & D Reid (eds), Paste 2019: Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 387-399,

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It took five years to bring mining with paste backfill to Ma’aden Barrick Copper Company’s (MBCC) Jabal Sayid Mine in Saudi Arabia. The work involved various studies, multiple test programs, site visits for benchmarking and detailed engineering before the paste system was commissioned in October 2017. Barrick is a world leader in paste backfill and drew on international teams to conceptualise, design and construct this 225 m3/hr cemented paste backfill system. Value engineering, peer reviews and risk management workshops were held throughout the process to ensure MBCC received value for money and a reliable system. The paste plant was required to handle a tailings stream that was originally planned to produce hydraulic fill (the coarse fraction) but through the reintroduction of fine tailings was able to generate a good paste product that met mining needs. Challenges involved getting the most out of the tailings dewatering circuits (both fine and coarse streams), the local conditions (temperatures >50°C), large bulk stopes fed by a gravity system and the capital cost associated with building a high throughput system with significant cement storage. This paper presents the history of the project, test work, engineering design and construction, commissioning, and training required to fill the first stope. More recent backfill monitoring, data logging, improvements and ongoing optimisation of the system that have continued through the first year of paste production are also presented.

Keywords: paste, mining, backfill, operations, commissioning, reticulation, start-up

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