Evaluation of the strength properties of deslimed tailings paste backfill

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Yılmaz E., Belem T., Benzaazoua M., Kesimal A., Erçıkdı B.

The International Journal of Mineral Resources Engineering, vol.12, no.2, pp.129-144, 2007 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


This paper examines the influence of desliming pre-treatment of mine tailings on the strength development of the resultant paste backfill. The mill tailings were sampled from an underground copper-zinc mine in northeast Turkey (tailings samples A and B). The beaker decantation method was used for tailings desliming in order to determine the proper particle size distribution (PSD). Using this laboratory sedimentation method, the fine particles (-20 µm) amount of the total tailings samples A (52%) and B (54%) were reduced to 15% and 20%, respectively. Deslimed tailings paste backfill samples were then prepared, cured and subjected to uniaxial compression tests using a digital mechanical press so as to understand the relationship between PSD and backfill strength development. It was found that the averaged 28-day uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) values of desliming pre-treatment tailings paste backfill samples were 30% to 60% higher than the ones of total mill tailings paste backfill samples.