Non-destructive Testing of Backfill Strength in Support of Continuous Mining
Underground mines generate significant volumes of crushed waste rock, called tailings, but almost half of these can be returned underground and used as value-added backfill. This research uses non-destructive sensors that monitor the backfill’s strength in real time and provides operators with information needed to safely place backfill as quickly as possible. The sensors will be developed and deployed at operating mines so that they are validated under real-world operating conditions. Extensive laboratory testing conducted on the backfill materials will calibrate the sensors to backfill strength. Safely achieving continuous backfill operations will be key to the mining industry’s ambition of realizing continuous mining processes and improving the sector’s commercial and environmental sustainability.