New design sets the standard for backfill system diversion
Underground mines use intricate piping networks, known as backfill systems, to fill stopes after extracting ore for processing. There are three types of backfill commonly used in conventional mining operations — cemented paste (CPB), hydraulic and dry tailings. A backfill system generally consists of a main pipeline dropping vertically 656 ft (200 meters [m]) or more below the surface, where it levels out horizontally and the flow can be split into two different pipelines. This piping structure may repeat at each level of the mine, depending on the project.
The abrasive nature of rock, sand, ore, and chemical backfill slurries pumped through the pipeline systems results in constant maintenance and repairs, directly impacting mine productivity and profitability.