Authors: Liu, GS; Yang, XC; Pan, A; Guo, LJ; Li, L

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Liu, GS, Yang, XC, Pan, A, Guo, LJ & Li, L 2019, 'Required strength evaluation model and its application for vertically exposed backfill: inspired by Mitchell’s physical model tests', 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. 451-463,

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Cemented paste backfill is an increasingly popular technique to improve ground stability in underground mines. This technique is used in several mining methods that require strength evaluation for the vertically exposed cemented backfill following the excavation of an adjacent stope on one side. The critical strength is generally evaluated with an analytical solution proposed by Mitchell et al. (1982). Despite its wide acceptance in academia and application in the mining industry, the Mitchell solution has received only a few updates in the literature, including some new developments given by the authors and colleagues. The original Mitchell solution and its variants were mainly validated against the physical model test results obtained by Mitchell et al. (1982). Even though the Mitchell model debatably assumed a zero backfill friction angle, the required strengths predicted by the Mitchell solution corresponded quite well to those obtained by physical model tests. This study reanalysed the Mitchell solution and its physical model. The testing conditions and procedures for measuring the shear strength parameters are investigated. The stability of the cemented backfill upon removal of a confining wall is analysed with FLAC3D. The comparisons between the numerical modellings, experimental results and analytical solutions are presented, and the applicable range of the classical Mitchell solution is discussed. A new analytical solution is proposed to evaluate the minimum required strength of the cemented backfill confined by two sidewalls exposed on one side and subject to pressure from uncemented backfill on the opposite side. The proposed analytical solution is validated by numerical simulations with FLAC3D. The proposed analytical solution is used to determine the theoretical strength requirement of cemented backfill in primary stopes of an iron mine that employs stage stoping with subsequent backfill mining. The floating Factor of Safety (FS) characterising the current backfilling quality control level of this mine was statistically evaluated with a large amount of uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) data after testing vast drilled samples from field stopes. The engineered strength requirement of the cemented backfill in primary stopes had been finalised by combining the analytical results and floating FS of the mine.

Keywords: cemented backfill, required strength, Mitchell, physical model tests, FLAC3D

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