Reactivity of Cemented Paste Backfill

Title: Reactivity of Cemented Paste Backfill
Authors: Aldhafeeri, Zaid
Date: 2018-09-13
Abstract: Mining has been one of the main industries in the course of the development of human civilization and economies of various nations. However, every industry has issues, and one of the problems the mining industry has faced is the management of waste, especially sulphide-bearing tailings, which are considered to be a global environmental problem. This issue puts pressure on the mining industry to seek alternative approaches for tailings management. Among the several different types of methods used, cemented paste backfilling is one of the technologies that offers good management practices for the disposal of tailings in underground mines worldwide. Cemented paste backfill (CPB) is a cementitious composite made from a mixture of mine tailings, water and binder. This technology offers several advantages, such as improving the production and safety conditions of underground mines. Among these advantages, CPB is a promising solution for the management of sulphidic tailings, which are considered to be reactive materials (i.e., not chemically stable in an atmospheric condition) and the main source of acid mine drainage, which constitutes a serious environmental challenge faced by mining companies worldwide. Such tailings, if they come into direct contact with atmospheric elements (mainly oxygen and water), face oxidation of their sulphidic minerals, thus causing the release of acidic drainage (i.e., acid mine drainage) and several types of heavy metals into surrounding water bodies and land. Therefore, the reactivity of sulphidic tailings with and without cement content can be considered as a key indicator of the environmental behavior and durability performance of CPB systems. For a better understanding of the reactivity, it is important to investigate the influencing factors. In this research, several influencing factors are experimentally studied by conducting oxygen consumption tests on different sulphidic CPB mixtures as well as their tailings under different operational and environmental conditions. These factors include time, curing temperature, initial sulphate content, curing stress, mechanical damage, binder type and content, and the addition of mineral admixtures. In addition, several microstructural techniques (e.g., x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy) are applied in order to understand the changes in the CPB matrices and identify newly formed products. The results reveal that the reactivity of CPB is affected by several factors (e.g., curing time, initial sulphate content, ageing, curing and atmospheric temperature, binder type and content, vertical curing stress, filling strategy, hydration and drainage, etc.), either alone or in combination. These factors can affect reactivity either positively or negatively. It is observed that CPB reactivity decreases with increasing curing time, temperature (i.e., curing and atmospheric temperatures), curing stress, binder content, the addition of mineral admixtures, degree of saturation, and the binder hydration process, whereas reactivity increases with increases in sulphide minerals (e.g., pyrite), initial sulphate content, mechanical damage, and with decreased degrees of saturation and binder content. The effect of sulphate on the reactivity of CPB is based on the initial sulphate content as well as curing time and temperature. It is concluded that the reactivity of CPB systems is time- and temperature-dependent with respect to other factors. Also, binders play a significant role in lowering CPB reactivity due to their respective hydration processes.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -