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JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING

EG4010

Civil Engineering

PERMEABILITY AND DRAINAGE


CHARACTERISTICS OF HYDRAULIC FILLS IN
UNDERGROUND MINES

Kelda Shae Rankine

Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours

Submitted 7th October 2002

i
ABSTRACT

The recent spate of catastrophic fill barricade failures around Australia and numerous
underground mines worldwide have led to a need for an increased understanding into
the factors which lead to failure of the fill in underground mining operations. Research
suggests that most of these are due to poor drainage and subsequent build-up of pore
pressures, which leads to liquefaction, piping and other types of failures. The focus of
this research is to study the fundamental aspects of permeability and drainage
characteristics of hydraulic fills in selected Australian mines.

An extensive laboratory test programme was carried out to study the permeability
characteristics of hydraulic fill samples obtained from several Australian mines. An
investigation into the effects of the physical properties of void ratio, grain size
distribution and specific gravity of the fill was conducted. During the course of this
investigation a new procedure to determine the maximum void ratio of hydraulic fills
was developed and found to give consistently higher results than the current Australian
Standard for determination of maximum void ratio of cohesionless soils (AS1289.5.5.1
– 1998).

A 1:100 laboratory scaled model, mimicking an actual mine, was prepared. The actual
filling process in the mine was simulated and the discharge measured for various drain
arrangements and barricade positions. These results were verified against a numerical
model developed in FLAC3D.

An increased knowledge of the fundamental processes involved with the drainage of


minefills will provide an increased level of confidence in design, more efficient mining
procedures to be developed, and safer filling practice to be undertaken.

ii
STATEMENT OF ACCESS

I, the undersigned, the author of this thesis, understand that James Cook University will
make it available for use within the University Library and, by microfilm or other
means, allow access to users in other approved libraries. All users consulting with this
thesis will have to sign the following statement:

In consulting this thesis I agree not to copy or closely paraphrase it in


whole or in part without written consent of the author, and to make proper
public written acknowledgement for any assistance, which I have obtained
from it.

Beyond this, I do not wish to place any restriction on access to this thesis.

iii
STATEMENT OF SOURCES
DECLARATION

I declare that this thesis is my own work and has not been submitted in any form for
another degree or diploma at any university or other institution or tertiary education.
Information derived from the published or unpublished work of others has been
acknowledged in the text and a list of references is given.

iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis was conducted in the School of Engineering, James Cook University,
Townsville, under the supervision of Dr. Nagaratnam Sivakugan (Senior Lecturer in
Civil Engineering) and Mr Dick Cowling (Cowling Associates). With sincere gratitude
I would like to express my thanks, for their continual guidance and support throughout
this project.

Thanks are also extended to Mr Andrew Robertson (General Manager, Operations and
Planning, Newmont Australia) and Mr Alex Brady (Senior Mining Engineer, Osborne
Mine, Placer Dome Inc) for their explanations and assistance; Mr Warren O’Donnell
(Senior Geotechnical Officer) for his guidance with the laboratory testing; Miss
Kirralee Rankine (Postgraduate Research Student) and Mr Rudd Rankine (Pastefill
Engineer, Cannington BHP Billiton) for their help and support throughout the project
and Mr Stuart Peterson (Technical Officer) for his advice in the design and construction
of the laboratory model.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents and family for their patience and
encouragement over the past year.

v
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page i
Abstract ii
Statement of Access iii
Statement of Sources Declaration iv
Acknowledgements v
Table of Contents vi
List of Figures x
List of Tables xiii
Nomenclature xiv

1.0 INTRODUCTION
1.1 General 1
1.2 Mining Methods Used with Minefills 2
1.3 Objectives 3
1.4 Relevance of Research 3
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 General 5
2.2 Hydraulic Fill and Barricade Bricks 5
2.3 Factors affecting Permeability of Hydraulic fill 7
Grain Size Distribution 8
Grain Shape and Texture 8
Mineralogical Composition 8
Voids Ratio 9
Degree of Saturation 9
Temperature 9
Hydraulic Fill Drainage and Pore Pressure Measurement 9
Numerical Simulation of Drainage through Hydraulic Minefill 1 6
Empirical Relationships for Permeability of Hydraulic Fill 19
The Effect of Consolidation pressure on Permeability 25

vi
3.0 SLURRY SEDIMENTATION
3.1 General 26
3.2 Laboratory Testing on Mine Tailings 26
3.2.1 Preparation of Tailings 27
3.2.2 Grain Size Distributions (GSD) 28
3.2.3 Specific Gravity of Minefill 29
3.2.4 Moisture Content 29
3.2.5 Minimum and Maximum Dry Density 30
3.2.6 Relative Density 31
3.2.7 Bulk Density and Void Ratio 31
3.2.8 Coefficient of Permeability 31
3.3 Geotechnical Database for Hydraulic Fill 34
3.3.1 Effective Grain Size, D10 34
3.3.2 Uniformity Coefficient, Cu 34
3.3.3 Coefficient of Curvature 37
3.3.4 Specific Gravity 38
3.4 Relative Density of Hydraulic Fill 38
3.5 The effect of Wet Placement on Maximum Void Ratio 39
3.5.1 Apparatus for Maximum Void Ratio by Wet Placement 40
3.5.2 Procedure for Determining Void Ratio by Wet Placement 40
3.5.3 Calculations 43
3.5.4 Results of the Wet Placement on Maximum Void Ratio 43
3.6 Empirical Correlations for Permeability 44
3.6.1 Hazen’s Equation 44
3.6.2 Karol’s Empirical Relationship 45
3.6.3 Lambe’s Empirical Relationship 46
3.6.4 Das’ Empirical Relationship 46
3.6.5 Rankine’s Permeability Relationship 50
4.0 LABORATORY MODELLING
4.1 General 54
4.2 Scale Model Testing Apparatus 55

vii
4.2.1 Stope Design 56
4.2.2 Location of Drain Outlets 56
4.2.3 Barricade Design 57
4.3 Experimental Program 58
4.3.1 Preparation of Tailings Slurry 59
4.3.2 Experimental Methodology 60
4.4 Results 61
4.4.1 Drain Arrangement 1 62
4.4.2 Drain Arrangement 2 62
4.4.3 Drain Arrangement 3 64
5.0 NUMERICAL MODELLING
5.1 General 66
5.2 Background Information on FLAC3D 66
5.2.1 Numerical Modelling Methods 67
5.2.2 Review of Available Numerical Modelling Packages 68
5.2.3 Comparison between FLAC3D and Other Numerical 69
Methods
5.3 Numerical Implementation 70
5.3.1 Initial Conditions 70
5.3.2 Boundary Conditions 71
5.3.3 Input Parameters 72
5.3.4 Numerical Simulation 72
5.4 Validation Model 73
5.5 Sensitivity Analysis 75
5.5.1 Grid Sensitivity 75
5.5.2 Permeability Sensitivity 76
5.5.3 Porosity Sensitivity 77
6.0 INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS
6.1 General 79
6.2 Comparison of Numerical and Experimental Predictions 80
6.2.1 Drain Arrangement 1 80
6.2.2 Drain Arrangement 2 85

viii
6.2.3 Drain Arrangement 3 88
3D
6.3 Additional Results from FLAC 91
6.3.1 Effect of Barricade distance on Discharge 91
6.3.2 Flow Vectors within the Modelled Stope 92
6.3.3 Pore Pressures within the Stope 93
6.3.4 Summary of Additional Results 93
7.0 CONCLUSIONS
7.1 Summary 95
7.2 Conclusions 96
7.2.1 Empirical Correlations 96
7.2.2 Relative Density of Hydraulic Fills 96
7.2.3 The effect of Wet Placement on Maximum Void Ratio 96
7.2.4 Numerical and Laboratory Modelling of Drainage 97
7.3 Recommendations for Future Work 97

REFERENCES 99

APPENDIX
APPENDIX A: Laboratory Model Data 103
3D
APPENDIX B: FLAC Drainage Model 108
APPENDIX C: Maximum Wet Placement Void Ratio Data 111

ix
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Description Page

1.1 Plan View of an Ore Body Showing a Typical Stope Extraction 2


Sequence in a Mine-Stope Grid Arrangement.

2.1 Bulk Head Pressure Measurements (1972) 10

2.2 Test apparatus for Observing Piping Mechanism 12

2.3 Free Water as a function of Placed Slurry Density for Isa Fills 12

2.4 Hazen’s Relationship for in-situ permeability tests (from Leonards 23


1862)

2.5 Documented Laboratory Permeability Values of Various Soils 24


(Lambe & Whitman, 1979)

2.6 Effect of consolidation pressure on permeability (Cedegren 1967) 25

3.1 Rod mill 27

3.2 Unmixed and Mixed Tailings 28

3.3 Malvern MasterSizer-X Laser Particle Sizer 29

3.4 Constant Head Permeameter 32

3.5 Falling Head Permeameter 33

3.6 Grain Size Distribution of Hydraulic Fill 35

3.7 Hydraulic Fills tested 38

3.8 Apparatus for Determining the Maximum Void Ratio by Wet 40


Placement

3.9 Base of Void-Ratio Testing Apparatus 41

3.10 Set-up of Void-Ratio Testing Apparatus 41

3.11 Drained Hydraulic Fill 42

3. 12 Hazen’s Empirical Correlation 47

3.13 Karol’s Empirical Relationship 48

3.14 Lambe’s Empirical Relationship 49

x
3.15 Das’ Empirical Relationship 49

3.16 Trends of Uniformity Coefficient versus Permeability 50

3.17 Trends of Specific Gravity versus Permeability 51

3.18 Rankine’s Permeability Relationship 52

4.1 Flow net for a 2-dimensional Hydraulic Fill Stope (Kuganathan, 54


2002)

4.2 Testing Apparatus of Model Stope 55

4.3 Drain Locations along Stope Face 56

4.4 Drain Outlet with ‘Drop-gate’ 57

4.5 Barricade and Components 58

4. 6 Grain Size Distribution of MIM Hydraulic Fill 59

4.7 Experimental Results: Drain Arrangement 1 62

4.8 Experimental Results: Drain Arrangement 2: Drain 1 63

4.9 Experimental Results: Drain Arrangement 2: Drain 2 63

4.10 Drain Arrangement 3: Drains 3 and 4 64

4.11 Drain Arrangement 3: Drains 5 and 6 65

5.1 Drain Outlet Arrangements 72

5.2 Validation of Discharge against Cowlings’s Example 74

5.3 Effect of Water Balance between Various Models 75

5.4 Sensitivity of Grid Fineness 76

5.5 Sensitivity Analysis for Range of Permeability Values 77

5.6 Porosity Sensitivity 78

6. 1 Drain Arrangements Studied 79

6. 2 Drain Arrangement 1 81

6. 3 FLAC3D Results for Various Barricade Positions along Drain Outlet 81

xi
6. 4 Comparison of FLAC3D and Laboratory Model for Barricade Located 83
1 cm from Stope Face

6. 5 Comparison of FLAC3D and Laboratory Model for Barricade Located 83


5 cm from Stope Face

6. 6 Long-term Readings for Experimental Discharge for a Barricade 85


Located 1 cm from Stope Face

6. 7 Drain Arrangement 2 85

6. 8 Discharge from Drain 1 of Drain Arrangement 2 86

6. 9 Discharge from Drain 2 of Drain Arrangement 2 86

6. 10 Drain Arrangement Three 88

6. 11 Comparison of FLAC and Experimental Model Discharge for Drains 89


3 and 4 of Drainage Arrangement 3

6. 12 Comparison of FLAC and Experimental Model Discharge for Drains 89


5 and 6 of Drainage Arrangement 3

6. 13 Total Discharge versus Barricade Distance from Stope Face from 92


FLAC3D Modelling

6. 14 Steady State Flow Vectors 93

xii
LIST OF TABLES

Table Description Page

2.1 Permeability and drainage characteristics of soils (Terzaghi 19


et al. 1996)

2. 2 Values of the constant C1 reported by Lambe & Whitman (1979) 21

3. 1 Permeability Test Results 36

3. 2 Grain Size Distribution Test Results 37

3. 3 Measured Maximum and Minimum Void Ratios for Various 39


Hydraulic Fills

3. 4 Maximum Wet Void Ratio Results 43

3.5 Hazen’s Constant for Various Hydraulic Fills 44

4. 1 Properties of MIM Hydraulic Fill 58

4. 2 Drain Outlet Arrangements 60

4. 3 Barricade Position at Various Drainage Outlet Arrangements 61

5.1 Numerical Model Parameters 71

6. 1 Summary of Testing Performed 80

xiii
NOMENCLATURE

AF = Aggregate Fills
SF =Sand Fills
CRF = Cemented Rock Fill
CAF = Cemented Aggregate Fill
CHF = Cemented Hydraulic Fill
RF = Rock Fill

C1 = Hazen’s constant
C2 = Shape factor (Kozeny Equation)
C3 = shape factor (Kozeny-Carmen Equation)
C4 = constant (Amer and Awad equation
Cc = coefficient of curvature
Cu = uniformity coefficient
D10 = effective grain size, diameter of the soil particles through which 10% of the
are finer
D30 = diameter of soil particles for which 30% of the particles are finer
D50 = diameter of soil particles for which 50% of the particles are finer
D60 = diameter of soil particles for which 60% of the particles are finer
Ds = effective particle diameter
e = void ratio
g = acceleration due to gravity
Gs = specific gravity
i = hydraulic gradient
k = coefficient of permeability (cm/s; mm/hr)
K0 = horizontal pressure coefficient
n = porosity
S = Specific surface of grains
Sr = degree of saturation
w = moisture content
ηw = dynamic viscosity of water at 20 degrees Celsius
γt = total bulk unit weight of fill

xiv
γw = unit weight of water
µ = viscosity of water
ρd = dry density
ρm = bulk density
ρw = density of water
σh = bulkhead pressure

xv
Chapter 1 Introduction

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 General
Minefill refers to any waste material that is placed into underground voids, created by
mining for the extraction of ore. Minefill may be placed underground to dispose of
mining waste (tailings) or used to provide additional support to remaining mine
infrastructure (mine pillars etc.) In addition to this, minefill provides the following
benefits: -
• Effective means of tailings disposal;
• Increased local and regional rock stability;
• Improvement in ore recovery; and
• Reduced environmental impacts.

To accurately determine the support benefits that the minefill will provide, it is
important that the geotechnical characteristics are properly understood. This will ensure
that adequate provisions are made for the drainage, static and dynamic strength
considerations. The static and dynamic strength stability requirements are typically
imposed to ensure that the minefill has enough strength to prevent failure during the
exposure of a wall in the mining sequence and during blasting nearby an ore body. The
dynamic and drainage requirements are linked inherently through the in-situ pore
pressure in the fill mass. A significant concern for any hydraulically placed minefill is
the liquefaction potential of the fill mass. Liquefaction occurs when the pore pressure
increases dramatically, thus reducing the effective stress in the fill mass, to the point
where the shear resistance of the soil is so low that the soil begins to “flow” like a
liquid. If the fill mass liquefies, implications arise for the loading on the barricade walls
which retain the fill in the stopes and prevent it from flowing into the mine. During
liquefaction, all arching in the fill mass is lost and the loadings on the barricades will
increase, which is significantly greater than current design strengths for which barricade
walls are designed. A flow of fill material would then follow, with potentially
catastrophic consequences. To reduce the likelihood of liquefaction, hydraulically
placed minefills, excluding paste, are designed for minimum drainage requirements.

1
Chapter 1 Introduction

This ensures that the exposure to liquefaction is reduced, by draining the minefills of all
excess water, and thus potential for pore pressure build-up.

Hydraulic fill refers to the coarser fraction of a deslimed mine tailings slurry, generally
with a solids density of 70 – 75%. The fill material is reticulated, by gravity, through
pipelines and boreholes to the top of the stopes. Paste is a special type of hydraulic fill,
which utilizes the finer fraction of the tailings and will not be discussed within this
thesis.

The focus of this research is to study the fundamental aspects of permeability and
drainage characteristics of hydraulic fills through numerical modeling and laboratory
models.

1.2 Mining Methods Used with Minefills


There are two distinct types of mining methods: stable stope and caving, with a
complete spectrum of methods available between these two extremes. The three stable
stope methods which use minefill are the open stoping, room and pillar and cut and fill
mining methods.

In a simple open-stoping mining operation, ore body is divided into separate stopes for
mining. The solid rock within each stope is blasted and the fragments removed via
drives for processing, thus leaving an empty stope or void. The extracted ore is then
processed, removing the minerals from the rock and leaving a waste material known as
tailings.

Tertiary Secondary Tertiary


6 5 4

Secondary Primary Secondary


3 1 2

Tertiary Secondary Tertiary


9 8 7

Figure 1.1– Plan View of an Ore Body Showing a Typical Stope Extraction
Sequence in a Mine-Stope Grid Arrangement.

2
Chapter 1 Introduction

To contain the hydraulic fill, barricades are constructed at each of the entrances to the
stopes. Permeable barricades are generally made of concrete bricks that are very porous
and have permeability comparable to that of gravels. As hydraulic fill is poured into the
stope, excess water is allowed to drain freely through the fill and exit the stope through
barricades, thus reducing the build up of pore pressure behind the barricades. The
remaining water either pools on the surface as decant water, or is tied up in the
interstices of the fill. A portion of the water filling the interstices would drain gradually,
still leaving some residual moisture in the longer term. After dewatering and resulting
consolidation in stopes underground the fill becomes capable of accepting loads, and
has reduced the liquefaction risk.

1.3. Objectives
The focus of this research is to study the fundamental aspects of permeability and
drainage process’ in hydraulically minefilled stopes.

Specifically, this thesis aims to achieve the following objectives:


- Study the drainage through hydraulic fills in underground mines, through
scaled numerical and laboratory modeling of stopes,
- Using these models, investigate the effect of drain location and barricade
distance on discharge.
- Study the empirical relationships relating the permeability of soils, to
their grain size characteristics and other classification data
- Investigate the measurement of void ratio in hydraulic fill according to
Australian Standards for selected Australian mines.

1.4 Relevance of Research


The recent spate of catastrophic fill barricade failures around Australia and numerous
underground mines worldwide has led to a need for an increased understanding of the
factors which lead to failure of the fill in underground mining operations. Two major
factors that have been identified are:
i) The flow of water through hydraulic fill mass, and
ii) Poor drainage that leads to build-up of pore pressures, which results in
piping, liquefaction and other forms of failures.

3
Chapter 1 Introduction

By understanding the processes that lead to failure, an increased level of confidence in


design of minefills will be achieved. More efficient mining, safer mine minefilling
practices and increased cost savings may result from the introduction of the new
designs.

4
Chapter 2 Literature Review

CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 General
The concept of using recycled extracted material for minefills in mines dates back
hundreds of years. The original minefills in underground mines consisted mainly of
waste rock. Over the past 100 years however, there has been an accelerating
development of minefill technology from the art to a science. This move towards more
accurate knowledge of minefill performance was given more pertinence as part of any
mining operation during the global recession of the early 1980’s when the need to refine
the production and reduce operational costs arose.

The introduction of hydraulically transported fill in Australia was first reported by


Black (1941) at the South Mine of Broken Hill South Limited, Broken Hill, New South
Wales in 1939. By 1944, all underground transportation of fill within the South Mine
was hydraulic. Hydraulic fill is now used extensively in underground mines throughout
the world. Therefore, a move towards an improved understanding of hydraulic fill
performance is needed.

2.2 Hydraulic Fill and Barricade Bricks


There are many types of minefilling materials used within the mining industry, however
they can generally be classified into two categories:
i) Uncemented minefills (mainly Aggregate Fills (AF) and Sand Fills (SF))
and
ii) Cemented minefills (which include: - Cemented Rock Fill (CRF), Cemented
Aggregate Fill (CAF), Cement Hydraulic Fills (CHF) and Paste Fill).

Uncemented minefills do not use any binding agents mixed in with the filling material.
The behaviour and performance of uncemented minefills can thus be studied using the
soil mechanics theory. Cemented minefills add small amounts of binder material,
normally Portland cement, or a blend of Portland cement with another pozzolan such as
fly-ash, gypsum or blast furnace slag to the parent minefill material. Cement Hydraulic

5
Chapter 2 Literature Review

Fill (CHF) is the most common type of cemented minefill. CHF is produced by the
addition of cement to deslimed mill tailings. The process of desliming tailings involves
the removal of the very fine fraction of particles from the distribution of grain sizes.
CHF is the most similar form of minefill to paste fill, the significant difference being
CHF has a larger grain size, that is all particles are < 420 µm with any material < 10 µm
removed during dewatering (Bloss, 1992).

Rock Fills (RF) are produced by crushing rock such that the particle sizes are between
25 – 300 mm. The material is then transported to the stope being filled and mixed with
CHF. This combined fill is termed Cemented Rock Fill (CRF). The properties of this
fill vary significantly within the stope as the two fills segregate during placement.

Materials finer than 25 mm that has been rejected from RF production is described as
Aggregate Fill (AF). As with CRF, AF are mixed with CHF and is termed Cemented
Aggregate Fill (CAF). CAF typically suffer from segregation during placement, and
thus properties at any location within a stope are dependent on the ratio of AF:CHF at
that point (Bloss, 1992).

Paste Fill is the newest form of mining minefill. It is produced from the full mill tailings
and has a much finer grain size distribution than any other form of minefill. Typically it
has a minimum of 15% of the material smaller than 20 µm.

This research, will concentrate on the properties and drainage characteristics of


hydraulic minefill. The hydraulic fill derives its name from the hydraulic transportation
method used to deliver the fill to underground voids. The hydraulic fill is generally
delivered from a fill preparation plant to underground stopes through a network of
boreholes and pipe lines (Kuganathan, 2001).

Hydraulic fill is produced by standard cycloning or the removal of fines from the full
plant tailings. The overflow (or reject material – usually fines) is sent to thickeners prior
to placement in the tailings dam. The removal of the fines from the full plant tailings
makes the hydraulic fill comparatively coarser and more pervious for water to flow
through the fill. Generally, the hydraulic fill will contain not more than 10 % by weight

6
Chapter 2 Literature Review

of fine particles less than 10 µm in size. This ensures that acceptable permeability of the
placed fill is achieved. Also, slurry solids density is approximately 70% - 75% by
weight. The high density minimises the drainage of transport water that is contained
within the fill.

The barricades constructed at each of the entrances to the stopes are generally made of
concrete bricks. These bricks are very porous and may have a permeability rate as high
as that of coarse gravels. Brick dimensions vary between mines, as does the proportion
of constituent elements in the bricks. Barricade walls are constructed at the entrance to
the drives using mortar to bind the bricks together, in the same manner as surface
masonry work. Barricades are typically only one course thick but have been
constructed two courses thick in walls that were perceived to have a higher requirement
of strength. A typical barricade brick from Mount Isa Brick Works, was mixed for
approximately 5 minutes using the following materials:
- 1000 kg of 16 mm gravel
- 1000 kg of 4 mm river sand
- 260 kg of cement
- 50 liters of water

2.3 Factors affecting Permeability of Hydraulic fill


When laminar flow takes place through soils, Darcy (1856) observed that the velocity
(v) of flow is proportional to the hydraulic gradient (i).

v∝i Equation 2. 1
v = ki

The constant k in equation 2.1 is called the coefficient of permeability or coefficient of


hydraulic conductivity. This constant refers to the volumetric flow rate of water
through the hydraulic fill at a unit hydraulic gradient.

Permeability is not a fundamental property of soil, but depends upon a number of


factors, which are summarized below:
- Grain size distribution
- Grain shape and texture
- Mineralogical composition

7
Chapter 2 Literature Review

- Voids ratio
- Degree of saturation
- Temperature

2.3.1 Grain Size Distribution


The grain size distribution of hydraulic fill is an important property in determining the
permeability of the fill. The coefficient of permeability depends primarily on the
average size of the pores, which in turn is related to the distribution of grain sizes, grain
shape and soil structure (Craig 1992). In general, the smaller the particle the smaller
the voids between them, and therefore the resistance to flow of water increases. The
‘effective grain size’, D10, is significant in this respect, and provides the basis of
Hazen’s formula (1930):

k = C1 (D10 ) 2 Equation 2. 2

where
k = coefficient of permeability (cm/s)
C1 = constant in Hazen’s equation, discussed further in section 2.6
D10 = effective grain size (mm)

Hazen’s relationship only applies for clean, uniformly graded sands in a loose
condition.

2.3.2 Grain Shape and Texture


Permeability of fill varies according to particle shape and texture of the soil. When
particles are smooth and spherical, interlocking between particles increases, allowing
easier flow, increasing permeability. Conversely, irregular-shaped particles create
longer flow paths for the fluid to flow through, reducing the permeability. Generally,
rough-surfaced particles produce a greater frictional resistance to fluid flow, thus
reducing the permeability (Head, 1982).

8
Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.3.3 Mineralogical Composition


In fine-grained soils different types of minerals hold on to different thicknesses of
adsorbed water and consequently the effective pore size varies. Thus, the mineral
composition affects the permeability of clays, but has little effect on granular soils.
2.3.4 Voids Ratio
The voids within the soil are quantified by void ratio (e) or porosity (n), which are
defined by:
e = volume of void / volume of soil grains
n = volume of soil / total volume of the soil, expressed as a percentage.

Obviously, the way in which soil is placed effects the size and nature of voids between
particles thus affecting the permeability.

2.3.5 Degree of Saturation


The degree of saturation affects the permeability of fill. If bubbles are present in the fill,
flow channels can become blocked, thus reducing the permeability. If the degree of
saturation is less than about 85%, air is likely to be continuous, instead of being in
isolated bubbles, which invalidates Darcy’s (Head, 1982).

2.3.6 Temperature
The coefficient of permeability also varies with temperature, upon which the viscosity
of the water depends. As temperature increases, viscosity decreases thus resulting in a
greater permeability. Permeability is generally quoted at a standard temperature of 20
degrees Celsius.

2.4 Hydraulic Fill Drainage and Pore Pressure Measurement


The first major laboratory research undertaken on characteristics and behavior of
hydraulic fill material was by Thomas (1969). Through laboratory testing, Thomas
provided a basic understanding of the properties and behavior of emplaced fill.

Mitchell et al. (1975), presented findings from a laboratory study into bulkhead
pressures due to cemented hydraulic fill. Piezometers were installed through several
heavily reinforced concrete bulkheads in a stope located at Fox Mine in Northern
Manitoba. These piezometers were used to measure horizontal stresses on the bulkheads

9
Chapter 2 Literature Review

and pore water pressures at several points in the fill. Fill quantities, fill levels and water
balance were continuously monitored in conjunction with the instrumentation.

Mitchell et al. (1975) measured minefill pressures on the bulkheads much less than the
predicted values based on overburden weight (Equation 2.3).

σ h = K 0 Hγ t Equation 2. 3

where,
σh = bulkhead pressure,
K0 = horizontal pressure coefficient, taken to be 0.5,
γt = total bulk unit weight of fill,
H = height of minefill above the bulkhead.

Figure 2.1 illustrates the results obtained from Mitchell et al research and compares his
results to predicted values based on Equation 2.3.

Figure 2.1– Bulk Head Pressure Measurements (1972)

Equation 2.3 fails to consider any pressure reduction due to effects of arching or
cementation. However, the water balance study by Mitchell et al. (1975) showed that
the drainage characteristics of the hydraulic minefill compared well to the predictions
based on laboratory control specimens.

10
Chapter 2 Literature Review

Several major bulkhead failures in the mid 1980’s at Mount Isa Mines prompted a large
research program into drainage mechanisms during stope filling (Grice, 1989). The
recurring failure of bulkheads as a result of piping during the late 1980’s and 1990’s
resulted in further research into the specific process of piping. The research involved
monitoring water flows and pressures in stopes, and testing the limiting strengths of
bulkheads.

The development of numerical models to predict seepage behavior was concurrently


being undertaken, and the data gained from monitoring used to verify these models
(Isaacs and Carter, 1983; Cowling et al. 1988; Grice, 1989; and Cowling et al. 1989). It
was concluded that, provided the bulkheads are free draining, there is insufficient total
pressure to cause failure. Observations made through this study led to the development
of the theory of piping within the minefill mass (Bloss and Chen, 1998).

Bloss and Chen (1998) investigate the theory of piping within the minefill mass. They
believed piping in draining minefilled stopes is the primary cause of bulkhead failures.
A series of laboratory and in-situ tests were conducted to improve the understanding of
formation and propagation of pipes. A constant head permeability apparatus was set-up
with a standard uncemented hydraulic minefill sample of 300 mm height. A two meter
constant head of water was applied to the fill and a small hole was then created at the
base of the column to provide a discharge location for water and eroded fill. This set up
is illustrated in Figure 2.2.

In all tests conducted the erosion mechanism commenced immediately and connection
with the upper surface of the fill occurred within minutes of initial erosion. At this time
the flow of water increased dramatically and resulted in significant erosion of the fill
around the pipe.

The research described by Bloss and Chen (1998) illustrates three key issues:
a) The significance of piping mechanism in drainage-related bulkhead failures,
b) The ease with which piping can initiate and propagate in minefill; and
c) The relatively poor understanding that exists in the area of piping in
minefill.

11
Chapter 2 Literature Review

Constant head
tank

Water

2000 mm
Minefill sample

300 mm

150 mm Hole in base

Figure 2. 2– Test Apparatus for Observing Piping Mechanism

The results confirm that the key to successful management of piping is to limit the
potential for occurrence by maximising the slurry density and maintaining quality
control over the minefill product placed in the stope. This is demonstrated in Figure
2.3. By undertaking these recommendations, Bloss and Chen believe the failure of
barricades within industry will be reduced.

45

40
Free water conent (wt % relative to solids)

35
Hydraulic Fill

30

25

20
Cemented Hydraulic Fill

15

10

0
62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78

Placed Slurry density (wt % solids)

Figure 2. 3– Free Water as a function of Placed Slurry Density for Isa Fills

12
Chapter 2 Literature Review

It is also recommended that regular inspection of bulkheads be undertaken to ensure


minefill does not leak from them. Without a location for the minefill to discharge, the
pipe will not generate.

Recent bulkhead failures in Australia have raised concerns in the mining industry to
wonder whether the current level of understanding in hydraulic filling and bulkhead
construction is adequate. Kuganathan, (2001) highlights four areas of concern, when
dealing with the drainage of a hydraulic fill system. They are:
• Prepared fill mass within the stope
• Fill in the access drive between the stope and the bulkhead
• A properly designed drainage system
• Bulkhead design and installation

Generally, hydraulic fill is produced by removal of fines less than 10 micron from the
fill mass. By removing this fine fraction from the full plant tailings, the fill becomes
comparatively coarser and more pervious for water to flow through. It is recommended
that the fill mass be approximately 70% – 75% solids by weight. Generally,
percentages less than this will create excessive water in the stope and cause drainage
problems.

An important aspect of hydraulic minefill drainage is the bulkhead design and


installation. Kuganathan suggests, that choosing the right location for the bulkhead to
give the maximum drainage is the first priority in bulkhead design. For optimum
drainage conditions, it is suggested that bulkheads be placed closer to the stope. The
further the bulkhead is from the stope boundary, the lower the rate of drainage which is
inversely proportional to the offset distance from the stope boundary. However,
consideration into the safety of the barricade construction must also be thought given
attention. There must be tradeoff between the best location for drainage (stope edge)
and safest for construction (remote from stope edge) is required.

Kuganathan (2001) also relates the rate of drainage from a stope to the number of
bulkheads at the most demanding levels (i.e. draw point levels). Obviously as the

13
Chapter 2 Literature Review

number of drains is increased the discharge per drain is decreased. It is also


recommended that arched bulkheads be used where possible.

The final area of concern when dealing with the drainage of a hydraulic filled system is
design. Stope access and the drive size cannot be changed but the following factors can
be controlled through engineering design:
• Barricade/bulkhead construction
• Offset distance between the stope and the barricade/ bulkhead
• Additional drainage systems behind the barricade/bulkhead
• Permeability of the fill in the stope
• Permeability of the fill in the access drive

It is evident that, by controlling these factors within a hydraulic filled system, the
drainage rate can be optimized.

Kuganathan believes piping is not the prime cause of bulkhead failures. It is an after-
effect of the bulkhead failure. An experiment was designed to simulate the failure of
free-draining bulkheads.

A 200 mm diameter galvanized steel pipe was used to represent the drive in a real
stope. The bottom end of pipe then was closed and was connected to a water supply
through a 30 mm hole. Inside the cylinder a wire mesh and filter fabric was laid at the
bottom, and the cylinder was filled with hydraulic fill slurry until the fill solids level
reached the top end of the cylinder. At the top end, a flat sheet plate with a 100 mm
diameter hole was clamped to the cylinder. Care was taken to ensure there was no gap
between the fill and steel plate. A perforated wooden disk (100 mm diameter) tightly
fitting in the hole was used at the top end of the cylinder as the model bulkhead. Geo
fabric filter cloth placed between fill and the model bulkhead prevented fill solids from
leaking through the perforations, while allowing the water to drain freely. The model
bulkhead was loaded to resist fill and water pressure during testing. Water pressure was
applied at the bottom end of the cylinder and fill was allowed to drain freely. First,
different water heads were applied at the bottom, and the rate of water seepage was
measured. Fill permeability was calculated from the seepage rates at various water

14
Chapter 2 Literature Review

levels. Water pressure was gradually increased until the model bulkhead failed. When
the failure pressure was reached, the bulkhead was still draining freely. However, when
the hydraulic gradient in the fill reached 30, a plug of fully mobilized fill pushed the
bulkhead first and emerged through the failed bulkhead. Once the fill plug was pushed
out, water was ejected from the failed bulkhead through erosion pipes, which developed
after failure. The experiment was repeated with different sized model bulkheads and
the failure mechanism was the same in all cases (Kuganathan 2001).

The experiment demonstrated that high seepage gradient in the fill caused it to fail, lose
its strength and move like a heavy fluid to pressurize the bulkhead. The bulkhead fails
under high pressure exerted by mobilized fill, and piping develops after the fill and
bulkhead failure, due to the high pore water pressure that still exists in the fill.

From these experiments, Kuganathan concluded that piping is not the cause of the
bulkhead failure; it is an after effect of bulkhead failure.

Martin (2001) performed test work to investigate the effects of introducing engineered
drainage into a hydraulically minefilled stope. The tests were conducted in a laboratory
environment using a custom built vessel to represent the stope. The tests incorporated
the testing of drainage rates under two different conditions. The first test situation was
to measure the drainage rate of the water in the stope through the simulated barricade,
initially with no engineered drainage, and secondly, with engineered drainage.

The 450 mm (thickness) x 450 mm (depth) x 1100 mm (height) scaled stope was
constructed of 3 mm sheet metal. Two drainage outlets were drilled into the base of the
stope. Two fittings were also attached so that 5 mm copper tubing drainage pipes could
be attached to the scaled stope. An access drive constructed of 75 mm square hollow
tubing and measuring 45 mm in length, was welded to the sidewall of the tank. Holes
were drilled along the length of the drive so that pressure readings could be taken. The
internal drainage system was constructed out of 5 mm copper tubing. The copper
tubing had 1 mm holes drilled along its entire length so that water would be able to
percolate through the minefill and into the pipe. To prevent any fine particles from
entering the pipe work, a geotextile fabric was placed over the pipe work. The vertical
sections of the drainage pipe had 1 mm drainage holes drilled on both sides; whilst the

15
Chapter 2 Literature Review

horizontal sections had 1 mm drainage holes drilled on the upper surface. By simply
removing the plugs that screwed into the bottom of the vessel drainage points, Martin
was able to test the effect of engineered drainage on the stope.

The minefill mass in the stope vessel was placed under a constant head of water so that
the pore water pressure in the access drive could be compared with and without
engineered drainage. Martin’s results identify that engineered drainage reduced the flow
of water through the barricade, and the pressure in the access drive behind the
barricade. His results also concluded that lower moisture content developed in the
stope with engineered drainage as opposed to the vessel with no engineered drainage.

Although Martin produced various trends that will aid in the design and construction of
drainage in minefills, there were a number of problems involved within his testing.
Some of these include:
• Scaling of the apparatus. Engineered drainage (5 mm copper tubing with 1mm
holes drilled along its entire length) was not typical engineered drainage within
industry.
• The constant head of water applied to the minefill is not realistic in an actual
operating drainage systems

After barricade failures in July 1999 and January 2000, at Osborne mine, a fill review
was commissioned. Extensive data collation, back-analysis and research involving
numerical modeling were undertaken. Brady and Brown (2002), investigated fill
specification, barricade design, barricade failures, process design, control and
monitoring within the Osborne mine. An issue highlighted by the review process is that
a mine’s hydraulic fill system must be fully integrated with mine planning due to its
requirements and the constraints it places on mine design and scheduling.

2.5 Numerical Simulation of Drainage through Hydraulic Minefill


Numerical simulation of hydraulic minefill in mine stopes was initiated by a research
contract between Mount Isa Mines (MIM) and L. Isaacs and J. Carter (Isaacs and
Carter, 1983) which resulted in the development of a two dimensional model intended
to provide a basic understanding into the concepts of the drainage of hydraulic minefills

16
Chapter 2 Literature Review

in underground stopes. Through the use of this model, the developers were able to
predict the drainage behavior of hydraulic minefill throughout the filling and drainage
of an underground stope. The model utilized limited parameter inputs, which were
typical for very fine sand, and was restricted in its adaptability due to its fundamental
geometries.

The numerical solution was based on an integrated finite difference method (IFDM –
see section 5.2.1). The model assumes the porous medium as homogenous and
isotropic and that Darcy’s law for laminar flow is applicable. The top surface of the fill
is assumed horizontal and when decanted water lies above the fill, the upper boundary
for the region is used in the seepage analysis as being the fill level. When the fill is not
saturated over the full height the upper boundary for the region used in the seepage
analysis is the phreatic surface and the surface is assumed horizontal. Also, the pore
pressure adjacent to functioning drains was assumed as zero. The position of the
phreatic surface was calculated based on the quantity of water in the stope. When the
new minefill and water were added, the fill was added directly to the minefill, and the
water directly to the phreatic surface. Therefore the addition of each pour had an
immediate effect on the flow from the drains at the base of the stope. These
assumptions introduced error in the times and quantities for predicted drain flows.

The results from the numerical model indicate that unless pour rate is very low, pore
pressures in the lower part of the stope are high and are significantly affected by the
permeability or the pour rate. Isaacs and Carter suggest performance and positioning of
the drains has considerable impact on the pore pressure development within the system.

Although the research conducted by Isaacs and Carter has probably made the most
significant contribution to date, to the understanding of the drainage behaviour of
hydraulic minefilled stopes, further evidence suggests that both pour rate and the
hydraulic conductivity of the minefill have a substantial effect on the pore pressure
development within the system. Considerable pore pressures may develop behind the
wetting fronts in the minefill where the percolation rates have dropped significantly as a
result of unsaturated flow (Wallace, 1969). The incorporation of saturated and
unsaturated flow regimes would detect this effect.

17
Chapter 2 Literature Review

Although Isaacs and Carter (1983) provided valuable trends of drainage in stopes, the
accuracy of the model’s results were limited by the lack of laboratory and field
measurements. Cowling et al. (1988) confirmed the application of the seepage model
derived by Isaacs and Carter through the back analysis of the field measurements. The
research concluded that values of permeability derived from back analysis of field
measurements are significantly different from laboratory values. They also determined
that the influence the moisture content has on the porosity is essential in the use of the
model, and when accounted for, provides close agreement with regard to pore pressure
distribution as well as water balance within the system.

Traves and Isaacs (1990) developed a more sophisticated three-dimensional model to


incorporate several features that could not be accounted for in the two-dimensional
model developed by Isaacs and Carter (1983). They take into account irregular stope
geometries, heterogeneous fill and are capable of predicting the pressures and flows at
specific locations within a stope. This model along with relevant field data was able to
provide valuable mine planning information for the scheduling of filling operations and
design of fill mixes.

Traves and Isaacs (1990) use a cell-base approach to model the geometry of the stope
and the flow of moisture through the fill. Flow simulation encompasses both the
saturated and partially saturated regimes. Modeling of the unsaturated region is at a
scale appropriate to the problem, and, particular attention was paid to maintaining
numerical stability despite the use of large time steps and cell sizes.

The expansion to three dimensions and incorporation of the partially saturated flow
region are of substantial value, in simulating the process of fill drainage.

Ouellet and Servant (1998) analyzed how the impact of stratification on hydraulic
conductivity is related to the performance of the minefill drainage system for various
geometries. Field measurements showed that the geometry of the drainage system has a
significant impact on the drainage of the stopes. The mode of filling produces a minefill
showing an evident stratification typical of a sedimentation process. In situ observations
on this material show that this stratification translates into a very strong heterogeneity
in the physical properties of the cemented minefill. Using the finite element code

18
Chapter 2 Literature Review

SEEP/W, Ouellet and Servant simulated a two-dimensional model of drainage through


a hydraulic filled stope.

From these simulations, they were able to assess the impact of observed heterogeneity
of the settled hydraulic minefill. It was concluded that hydraulic conductivity of the
minefill is strongly antistrophic, having the horizontal conductivity higher than the
vertical one. However, the finite element model was based on a 2D simulation, thus
results cannot be compared quantitatively to the actual field data and further
investigation is required to produce a 3-dimensional analysis to confirm the above
conclusions.

2.6 Empirical Relationships for Permeability of Hydraulic Fill


Several formulae have been published relating the permeability of soils, especially
sands, to their particle size characteristics and other classification data. Depending on
the type of soil tested, values of permeability (k) can vary quite considerably. Typical
values for various soil types are given in Table 2.1 below.

Table 2. 1- Permeability and Drainage Characteristics of Soils (Terzaghi et al., 1996)

Permeability (m/s)
10 0
10 -1
10 -2
10 -3
10-4 10-5 10-6 10-7 10-8 10-9 10-10 10-11

Drainage Good Poor Practically impervious

Impervious soils
Very fine sands, organic &
Soil inorganic silts, mixtures of sand
e.g.,
Clean sands, clean
Types Clean gravel sand & gravel silt & clay, glacial till, stratified homogeneous
mixtures clay deposits, etc. clays below zone
“Impervious” soils modified by effects of of weathering
vegetation & weathering

Darcy first investigated the flow properties of water through sand in 1856. Darcy
developed the relationship relating the permeability, discharge velocity and hydraulic
gradient of a soil, through a porous granular medium, under steady conditions and
laminar flow as:
v = ki Equation 2.1

19
Chapter 2 Literature Review

where,
v = discharge velocity
k = coefficient of permeability
i = hydraulic gradient (fall in hydraulic head per unit length)

Hansbo (1960) and Holtz and Broms (1972) found that there was a deviation from
Darcy’s Law for low permeability clays at a very low hydraulic gradient. This is in
contrast to Mitchell (1976) who reviewed a number of investigations regarding the
applicability of Darcy’s Law and stated that “with all else held equal, Darcy’s Law is
valid, even for fine grained soils at low hydraulic gradients”. Mitchell (1976) cited the
difficulties associated with obtaining reliable permeability values, testing materials of
very low permeability, materials under laboratory conditions as the main source of
deviation. Removal of entrapped air, the migration of fines and temperature variations
of tests over a long period of time are only some of the significant problems that make
it difficult to get reliable results. A number of empirical relationships (Hazen 1911;
Kozeny 1927; Kozeny-Carman 1939; Taylor 1948; and Casagrande 1937); were
developed to relate the permeability of a porous media to its physical properties.

Hazen (1930) related the permeability to the effective grain size of a soil using the
equation:

k = C1 D102 Equation 2.2


where,
k = permeability, cm/s
D10 = grain size for which 10% of the particles pass by weight, mm
C1 = constant ( ≈1.0)

Hazen formulated his empirical equation for permeability using clean filter sands in
loose state. The effective grain size, D10, is an important value in regulating the flow
through soils (Budhu, 2000). The following values reported by Lambe & Whitman
(1979) show a wide spread for the constant, C1, in Hazen’s equation, far less than the
suggested value of 1.0 when applied to a wide range of soils.

20
Chapter 2 Literature Review

Table 2. 2– Values of the constant C1 reported by Lambe & Whitman (1979)

Soil D10 (mm) k (cm/s) C1= k/D102


Coarse gravel 0.82 0.11 0.16
Sandy gravel 0.2 0.0160 0.40
Fine gravel 0.3 0.0071 0.08
Silty gravel 0.06 0.00046 0.13
Coarse sand 0.11 0.00011 0.01
Medium sand 0.02 0.000029 0.07
Fine sand 0.03 0.0000096 0.01
Silt 0.006 0.000015 0.42

Taylor (1948) suggests Hazen’s constant ranges between 0.4 – 1.5; Das (1997) suggests
1-1.5; Holtz & Kovacs (1981) suggest a value in the range of 0.4 - 1.2, with an average
value of 1.0. Laboratory test also show that permeability can vary by as much as one
order of magnitude between the loosest and densest states of a soil Cedegren (1989).

Kozeny’s (1927) formula and its modification by Carman (1939) use the relationship
of permeability, particle size, porosity, angularity of particles, specific surface and
viscosity of water.

ρwg n3
Kozeny (1927): k= ⋅ Equation 2. 4
C 2η w S 2 (1 − n) 2

ρwg e3
Kozeny-Carman(1939): k= ⋅ Equation 2. 5
C 2η w S 2 1 + e

where,
k = coefficient of permeability (m/s)
ρw = density of water (1.00 Mg/m3)
g = acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s2)
n = porosity (refer to section 2.3.4)
ηw = dynamic viscosity of water at 20 degrees Celsius
S = Specific surface of grains (mm2/mm3)

21
Chapter 2 Literature Review

C2 = Shape factor, varying depending on shape of particle, and ranges between 5


for spherical grains and 7 for angular grains

Using Poiseuille’s law, and considering flow through bundled capillary tubes, Taylor
(1948) developed the following equation, which is in fact a simplification of Kozeny-
Carman equation.

2 γ e3
k = Ds C3 Equation 2. 6
µ 1+ e

where:
k = coefficient of permeability (m/s)
Ds = effective particle diameter (m)
γ = unit weight of water (N/m3)
µ = viscosity of water (m2/Ns)
e = void ratio (see section 2.3.4)
C3 = shape factor (dimensionless)

Casagrande (vide Das 1997) suggested that for fine or medium clean sands the
permeability relationship could be calculated using:

k = 1.4k 0.85 e 2 Equation 2. 7

Where k0.85 is the coefficient of permeability of a void ratio of 0.85.

From the permeability equations, several other relations for the coefficient of
permeability and void ratio have been suggested:

Lambe (1951): e3
k∝ Equation 2. 8
1+ e

Karol (1960): k ∝ e2 Equation 2. 9

e2
Das (1985): k∝ Equation 2. 10
1+ e

Amer and Awad (vide Das 2001) suggests that the permeability of a coarse grained soil
is related to the effective grain size, uniformity coefficient and void ratio.

22
Chapter 2 Literature Review

e3
k = C 4 D102.32 C u0.6 Equation 2. 11
1+ e
where
D10 = effective grain size, mm
Cu = uniformity coefficient
e = void ratio
C4 = a constant

The in situ measurements of coefficient of permeability of granular deposits in


Mississippi River Valley, USA, as reported by Leonards (1962) are shown in Figure 2.4
(vide Barnes, 2000) along with a band showing the values predicted by Hazen’s
equation.

Figure 2. 4– Hazen’s Relationship for in-situ permeability tests (from Leonards 1862)

Figure 2.5 below, summarises the documented range of permeability values and
corresponding void ratios of different soils, as measured in the laboratory, Lamb &
Whitman (1979).

23
Chapter 2 Literature Review

Figure 2.5– Documented Laboratory Permeability Values of Various Soils (Lambe & Whitman, 1979

24
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

2.7 The Effect of Consolidation pressure on Permeability

The process of sediment consolidation for most sedimentary environments is the result
of gravitational loading from the weight of the overlying material. Over time, the
overburden causes a decrease in void space as the sediment particles become more
closely arranged and the pore fluids are expelled. However, the very low permeability
in fine-grained sediments can slow down the process of dewatering. The effect of
consolidation pressure on different soil types is shown in the Figure 2.6.

Figure 2. 6– Effect of consolidation pressure on permeability (Cedegren 1967)


Note: 1tsf = 95.76 kPa

25
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

CHAPTER 3

SLURRY SEDIMENTATION AND HYDRAULIC FILL PLACEMENT

3.1 General
Sedimentation is the process in which the solid particles settle out from the slurry under
the action of gravity force. The process of sedimenting from a slurry, simulates the
natural sedimentation process in which soils are often formed in geological time.

By resedimenting the soil, we are able to replicate the fabric formation of the soil, and
in turn perform laboratory testing to calculate various geotechnical characteristics. It is
assumed that no consolidation occurs with sedimentation of the soil. (Cowling 2002).
Thus, the laboratory prepared samples should possess the same characteristics as an in-
situ stope.

In this project, hydraulic fill materials from four different mines were studied.
Generally, there was more than one sample taken from each of the mines. For
confidentiality purposes, the names of the mines are not disclosed with associated data.
The mines are simply referred to as Mine A through to Mine F.

Some of the data was obtained from the consultancy reports of James Cook University
Geomechanics group. Wherever necessary, additional tests were carried out to
supplement the available data.

3.2 Laboratory Testing on Mine Tailings


Initial laboratory testing was used to determine the primary geotechnical characteristics
of the hydraulic fills, including:
• Grain size distribution
• Specific gravity of the minefill
• Coefficient of permeability
• Relative density
• Void ratio

28
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

All tests were carried out in accordance with the appropriate standard procedures
specified in the Australian Standards AS1289.

3.2.1 Preparation of Hydraulic Fill


It was assumed segregation of the hydraulic fill may have occurred during transport
between the various mines and James Cook University. As a result, the hydraulic fill
required significant preparation to ensure homogeneity. A brief outline of the
procedures followed to prepare each of the samples is as follows:

• Mines A, D, E and F Hydraulic Fill


The hydraulic fill were removed from the airtight containers and placed in a
large concrete mixer (Creteangle multi-flow mixer). The samples primary
mixing continued for approximately 15 – 20 minutes to ensure a homogenous
mix was obtained. A small sample of the hydraulic fill were gathered from the
mix and grain size distributions determined.

• Mine B Hydraulic Fill


The entire contents of the 205-liter drum was divided into four approximately
equal portions and transported to the rod mill. One scoop from each bin was
repeatedly placed into the barrel until a sufficient quantity was contained within
the mixer. The sample was mixed for five minutes to achieve a homogeneous
mix, and then the mixed sample placed back into the empty 205 liter drum. The
sample was sieved to 600 µm, and the coarser fraction removed.

Figure 3. 1– Rod Mill

27
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

• Mine C Hydraulic Fill


The surface water of the wet sample drum was removed and placed into smaller
containers. The entire solids contents of the 205 liter drum was divided into five
approximately equal portions and transported to the large pan mixer (Figure
3.2). The quantity of water, initially removed from the drum, was divided into
five portions of approximately equal volume. A fifth of the content from each of
the solids containers was placed into the pan mixer, with one of the water
portions (Figure 3.2 a). The contents were mixed for approximately 10 minutes
until a homogenous mix was achieved (Figure 3.2 b). Approximately 10 liters of
this mixture was placed into a 60 liter sealable container and the rest of the
mixture placed back into the 205 liter drum. This procedure was repeated five
times, until the entire contents had been mixed. The 60 liter sealable drum was
set aside as a representable sample for future testing. The sample was sieved to
the grain size determined by the Malvern Laser sizing prior to testing.

(a) (b)
Figure 3.2– Unmixed (a) and Homogenous (b) Samples in the Large Pan Mixer.

3.2.2 Grain Size Distributions (GSD)


The grain size distribution of the samples was carried out as per AS1289.3.6.2-1995.
Instead of a hydrometer, Malvern MasterSizer-X laser particle sizer was used for the
grain size analysis of the fines. For each of the various hydraulic fills, a minimum of
three samples was obtained and a GSD carried out to ensure the grain size distribution
did not vary in different containers.

28
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Figure 3.3– Malvern MasterSizer-X Laser Particle Sizer

The grain size distributions performed within this thesis were conducted by the
Advanced Analytical Centre (JCU, Townsville) or were undertaken on site.

3.2.3 Specific Gravity of Backfill


The specific gravity tests of the hydraulic fills were carried out in 250 ml density bottles
(also known as pycnometers), as per AS1289.3.5.2-1995. The density bottles with
hydraulic fill, half-full with water, were placed in a warm water bath for 30 – 45
minutes to remove entrapped air. This was later placed in a desiccator where a vacuum
of 13kPa (using KNF Neuberger vacuum pump, 0.12kW, 1.7 Amp) was applied for
about an hour to completely remove any remaining air within the sample. The water
content of the original sample was determined as per AS1289.2.1.1-1992.

3.2.4 Moisture Content


The moisture of the fully drained backfill has to be determined so that when mixing the
backfill to the specified solids density, (usually 70 – 75%), the amount of water could
be calculated. This will vary depending on the moisture content already contained
within the drained backfill. The moisture content of the hydraulic fills was determined
using the standard procedure outlined in Refer to AS1289.2.1.1 – 1992.

29
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

3.2.5 Minimum and Maximum Dry Density


The minimum and maximum dry densities of the backfill were determined using the
standard procedure outlined in AS1289.5.5.1 – 1998.

• Minimum Dry Density


The mass of the standard compaction mould and base plate (without collar) was
determined. The oven-dried sand was then loosely poured into the mould using
a funnel. The average height of the fall of sand into the mould was maintained at
approximately 20 mm. whilst pouring, the funnel was moved in a spiral motion
from the outside towards the center to form a layer of uniform thickness of sand.
The excess sand was then levelled by means of a steel straight edge and the
mass of the mould and sand determined. The minimum dry density could then
be calculated.
• Maximum Dry Density
A sample of soil was initially soaked for several hours to ensure complete
saturation. The standard compaction mould, complete with collar was then
attached to the vibrating table. The sand was then thoroughly mixed and placed
in the mould using a scoop. The compaction mould was vibrated whilst filling.
After filling, the sand is allowed to vibrate for a further five minutes. Excess
water was removed from the surface whilst vibrating. The surcharge was then
lowered onto the surface of the sand in the mould and vibration continued for
another 10 minutes. The surcharge was then removed and the entire mould
detached from the vibrating table. The collar of the compaction mould was
removed and the surface of the sand levelled with a steel straight edge. The
mass of the mould and the saturated sand was recorded. The wet density of the
soil could then be calculated. The water content of the sand was determined by
placing the entire contents of the mould into a tray then in the oven. From the
water content and wet density, the maximum dry density was computed.

From these dry density values, the minimum and maximum void ratios could be
calculated using Equation 3.1
.

30
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Gs ρ w
e= −1 Equation 3. 1
ρd
3.2.6 Relative Density
The relative density of the hydraulic fill was calculated using the following formula:

emax − ein− situ


Dr = ×100% Equation 3. 2
emax − emin

Refer to AS1289.5.6.1 – 1998 for the standard method in determining the relative
density of the soil.

3.2.7 Bulk Density and Void Ratio


These fill parameters can be calculated using previously gathered information and the
following formula:

Gs ρ w (1 + w)
e= −1 Equation 3. 3
ρm
Rearranging Equation 3.3
Gs (1 + w) ρ w
ρm = Equation 3. 4
1+ e
where,
e = void ratio (refer to section 2.3.4)
w = moisture content (as above)
Gs = specific gravity (as above)
Sr = degree of saturation (volume of water / volume of voids)
ρw = density of water (1.00 Mg/m3)
ρm = bulk density (Mg/m3)
ρd = dry density (Mg/m3)

3.2.8 Coefficient of Permeability


Using the constant and falling head permeability tests the coefficient of permeability
was determined.

Figure 3.4 (a) illustrates a schematic diagram of the constant head apparatus whereas
Figure 3.4 (b) shows the actual permeaeter set-up at James Cook University.

31
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

hL

(a) (b)

Figure 3.4–Constant Head Permeameter (a) – Schematic Diagram, (b) Actual Permeameter Set-up

Initially water flows through the sample until flow (q) and the hydraulic head loss (h)
has reached a steady state. The flow rate and head loss are then measured and the
coefficient of permeability calculated. A schematic diagram is shown in Figure 3.4 (a)
and the actual set-up shown in Figure 3.4 (b).

ql
k= Equation 3. 5
Ah

where, q is the flow rate, h is the constant head loss and, A and l are the cross sectional
area and length of the sample respectively.

The standard procedure for carrying out this test using a constant head permeameter is
described in AS1289.6.7.3 (2001)

Figure 3.5 (a) illustrates the schematic diagram of the falling head permeameter,
whereas Figure 3.5 (b) shows the actual permeameter set-up.

32
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

stand pipe

h
water
column

Figure 3.5– Falling Head Permeameter (a) – Schematic Diagram; (b) – Actual Permeameter Setup

Water flows down the standpipe, through the sample so that the hydraulic head (h) at
any time (t) is the difference between the meniscus level in the standpipe and the over
flow. (Barnes, 2001). The coefficient of permeability is then calculated by applying the
following formula:

al h
k = 2.3 ⋅ log o Equation 3. 6
At h
where, a and A are the cross sectional areas of the standpipe and sample, respectively,
and t is the time taken for the height of water column h to drop to drop from ho to h in
the standpipe. l is the length of the sample.

The standard procedure for carrying out this test using a constant head permeameter is
described in AS1289.6.7.2 (2001).

33
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

3.3 Geotechnical Database for Hydraulic Fill


The grain size distribution plots of several hydraulic fill samples tested at JCU
Geomechanics laboratory are shown in Figure 3.6. The main parameters from the plots
are summarised in Table 3.2. The permeability data, obtained from JCU Geomechanics
Consulting reports, are summarised in Table 3.1.

3.3.1 Effective Grain Size, D10


The effective grain size of a soil, D10, refers to the diameter of soil particles for which
10 % of particles are finer. D10 is an important value in regulating flow through soils
and can significantly influence the permeability of soils. The higher the D10 value, the
coarser the soil and the better the drainage characteristics.

From Table 3.1, the effective grain size ranges from approximately 6 µm (Mine B) to
31 µm (Mine E). When correlated to Table 3.2, these results agree with the general
trend of higher permeability calculated from higher D10 values.

3.3.2 Uniformity Coefficient, Cu


The uniformity coefficient of a soil is defined as:

D60
Cu = Equation 3. 7
D10

where, D60 refers to the diameter of soil particles for which 60% of the particles are
finer.

The uniformity coefficient provides a measure of uniformity. Budhu (2000) suggests


that a uniformity coefficient of less then four, indicates uniform grading of soil grains.
Whereas, values greater then four indicate a wider assortment of grain sizes. In general,
the uniformity coefficient of the hydraulic fills (Mines A, C, D, E and F) was greater
than four, indicating that the hydraulic fills were well graded.

34
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

100

90

80

70

60
Percent Finer

50 Mine A
Mine B
Mine C
40
Mine D: D1
Mine D: D2
Mine D: D3
30
Mine D: D4
Mine D: D5
20 Mine D: D6
Mine D: D7
Mine D: D8
10 Mine D: D9
Mine E
Mine F
0
0 1 10 100 1000 10000
Grain size (µm)

Figure 3.6– Grain Size Distribution of Hydraulic Fill

35
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Table 3. 5 -Permeability Test Results

Permeability Test Sample


Sample Specific
Mine Avg. Permeability Avg. Permeability Dry Density Bulk Density Avg Moisture
No. Gravity Permeability (cm/s) Void Ratio Porosity
(cm/s) (mm/hr) (g/cc) (g/cc) Content
Constant Head Falling Head
Mine A A1 2.79 2.39E-04 2.65E-04 2.52E-04 9.07 0.67 40.1% 1.69 2.1 24.0%
A2 2.79 2.42E-04 2.51E-04 2.46E-04 8.87 0.61 38.0% 1.75 2.13 22.0%
A3 2.79 2.30E-04 2.39E-04 2.35E-04 8.44 0.64 39.1% 1.71 2.11 23.0%
A4 2.79 2.24E-04 2.39E-04 2.32E-04 8.34 0.67 40.1% 1.73 2.14 24.0%
Mine B B1 2.85 5.53E-05 5.65E-05 5.59E-05 2.01 0.66 39.9% 1.67 2.06 23.3%
B2 2.85 7.94E-05 3.26E-04 2.03E-04 7.29 0.66 39.7% 1.71 2.10 23.1%
B3 2.85 4.96E-05 4.91E-05 4.94E-05 1.78 0.66 39.9% 1.70 2.09 23.3%
Mine C C1 2.77 1.36E-05 1.70E-05 1.53E-05 0.55 0.94 48.4% 1.47 1.96 33.8%
C2 2.77 1.50E-05 1.40E-05 1.45E-05 0.52 0.92 48.0% 1.44 1.91 33.3%
C3 2.77 1.64E-05 1.84E-05 1.74E-05 0.63 0.96 48.9% 1.41 1.89 34.5%
Mine D D1 3.42 5.62E-04 5.86E-04 5.74E-04 20.66 0.58 36.8% 2.16 2.52 18.4%
D2 3.71 6.60E-04 6.00E-04 6.30E-04 22.68 0.66 39.8% 2.23 2.63 17.5%
D3 3.53 1.47E-03 6.32E-04 1.05E-03 37.84 0.70 41.2% 2.08 2.48 20.1%
D4 3.5 5.60E-04 7.96E-04 6.78E-04 24.41 0.72 41.8% 2.04 2.45 20.1%
D5 3.5 6.90E-04 9.94E-04 8.42E-04 30.31 0.70 41.2% 2.06 2.47 20.0%
D6 3.53 8.50E-04 9.90E-04 9.20E-04 33.12 0.66 39.6% 2.13 2.52 18.8%
D7 3.32 5.70E-04 9.72E-04 7.71E-04 27.76 0.68 40.4% 1.98 2.38 20.1%
D8 3.12 8.65E-04 9.78E-04 9.22E-04 33.17 0.72 41.9% 1.81 2.23 23.7%
D9 3.42 7.30E-04 8.36E-04 7.83E-04 28.19 0.72 42.0% 1.98 2.40 20.8%
Mine E E1 2.80 5.20E-04 5.40E-04 5.30E-04 19.08 0.69 40.8% 1.66 2.06 24.4%
Mine F F1 4.26 5.51E-04 5.25E-04 5.38E-04 19.37 0.73 42.3% 2.48 2.91 17.2%
F2 4.38 6.52E-04 5.41E-04 5.97E-04 21.48 0.77 43.5% 2.39 2.81 17.6%
F3 4.37 6.37E-04 7.04E-04 6.71E-04 24.15 0.83 45.5% 2.42 2.88 19.1%
F4 4.37 5.41E-04 4.28E-04 4.85E-04 17.44 0.79 44.3% 2.41 2.85 18.2%

Note: All samples made from a slurry with 50% porosity; sample size 153 mmφ x 306mm; all tested at JCU

36
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Table 3.6 – Grain Size Distribution Test Results

Sample D10 D30 D50 D60


Mine Cu Cc
No. (µm) (µm) (µm) (µm)
A1 12.9 58.9 105.4 131.3 10.1 2.0
A2 13.0 59.8 107.9 135.1 10.4 2.0
Mine A
A3 12.7 58.7 106.0 132.5 10.4 2.0
A4 12.9 59.1 106.4 133.0 10.3 2.0
B1 6.0 9.2 16.3 22.9 3.8 0.6
Mine B B2 5.9 8.8 15.5 22.5 3.8 0.6
B3 5.9 8.8 15.5 22.6 3.8 0.6
C1 13.3 25.8 79.2 112.9 8.5 0.4
Mine C C2 13.7 22.1 80.0 115.8 8.4 0.3
C3 13.2 22.4 82.1 118.7 9.0 0.3
D1 26.0 48.1 77.7 94.4 3.6 0.9
D2 29.4 63.1 81.9 98.6 3.4 1.4
D3 27.8 55.0 95.1 121.5 4.4 0.9
D4 16.9 48.1 77.2 95.5 5.6 1.4
Mine D D5 25.5 73.3 139.5 157.5 6.2 1.3
D6 23.4 83.9 158.2 207.7 8.9 1.4
D7 25.9 70.5 134.6 174.2 6.7 1.1
D8 24.6 66.0 127.0 163.9 6.7 1.1
D9 25.8 79.0 147.1 188.9 7.3 1.3
Mine E E1 31.0 89.2 152.8 191.8 6.2 1.3
F1 17.4 41.2 64.0 78.7 4.5 1.2
F2 22.8 48.5 74.2 90.0 4.0 1.1
Mine F
F3 21.4 46.2 69.3 85.0 4.0 1.2
F4 20.5 45.3 69.2 84.5 4.1 1.2

3.3.3 Coefficient of Curvature


The coefficient of curvature is defined as:
2
D30
Cc = Equation 3.8
D10 .D60

Where D30, refers to diameter of soil particles for which 30% of particles are finer.

A coefficient of curvature between one and three with the uniformity coefficient greater
then zero, indicates a well-graded soil. A range of values between 0.3 and 2.0 was
obtained from the laboratory testing.

As shown in Table 3.1, Mines A, D, E and F all illustrate well-graded hydraulic fills,
whilst Mines B and C indicate poorly graded hydraulic fills.

37
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

3.3.4 Specific Gravity


The specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of the soil solids to the weight of water of
equal volume. Refer to section 3.2.3 for the procedure in determining the specific
gravity.

ms
Gs = Equation 3. 9
Vt ⋅ ρ w

Generally, the specific gravity of soils ranges between 2.6 and 2.8. However, the range
of specific gravity values obtained from the hydraulic testing was between 2.77 and
4.38.

Figure 3.7 displays a photograph of the wide variety of hydraulic fills tested throughout
this report. The eight fills from Mine D, obtained at the same time during their fill trial
portray the diverse textures of the fill.

Mine D
Mine F

Mine A

Mine B

Mine C

Figure 3.7– Hydraulic Fills tested

3.4 Relative Density of Hydraulic Fill


The relative density (Dr) relates the “actual” or in-situ void ratio (e) with the maximum
and minimum void ratios achievable. The maximum and minimum void ratios are
denoted by emax and emin respectively, and are determined using standard test procedures

38
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

AS1289.5.6.1 – 1998. The relative density of a soil in its densest possible state (i.e.
where e = emin) is 100%. Similarly the relative density of a sample in the loosest
possible state is 0%. The relative density of various hydraulic fills during permeability
testing was determined using the in-situ void ratio obtained from the samples after
testing. Table 3.2 summarises the measured maximum, minimum and in-situ void
ratios for various hydraulic fills.

As discussed in chapter 2, the looser the fill, the greater the liquefaction potential, and
vice versa. Therefore, relative density is a good measure of the liquefaction potential
and is an important parameter for the hydraulic fills.

Table 3.3 summarises the measured maximum, minimum and in-situ void ratios and
calculates the relative density for various hydraulic fills.

Table 3. 1– Measured Maximum and Minimum Void Ratios for Various Hydraulic Fills

Minimum Void Maximum Void In-situ Void Relative


Sample
Ratio Ratio Ratio Density
A4 0.452 0.944 0.670 56%
D1 0.431 0.829 0.583 62%
D2 0.438 1.559 0.663 80%
D3 0.477 1.166 0.700 68%
D6 0.412 0.937 0.660 53%
D7 0.544 1.184 0.678 79%
D8 0.567 0.975 0.721 62%
D9 0.534 1.036 0.724 62%
F4 0.673 1.048 0.780 71%

The relative densities of the hydraulic fills tested varied from 50 % to just over 80 %.
From these results, it could be concluded that Sample D6 has the greatest potential for
liquefaction, having the lowest relative densities. Whereas Sample D2 is has the largest
density of the fills and has the least potential for liquefaction. However, these results of
minimum and maximum results seem questionable, and further investigation is required
to verify the results.

3.5 The effect of Wet Placement on Maximum Void Ratio


The procedure outlined in the Australian standards AS1289.5.5.1 – 1998 for
determination of the maximum void ratio of a cohesionless material, defines the use of
pouring a dry soil into a given volume, with minimal compaction and measuring the

39
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

density. During the sedimentation process, soil particles settle out of a hydraulic
suspension and form a loose, saturated soil matrix, with pore pressures equal to the
depth of the water above that point. This ensured that the effective stress remained
constant through the full depth of the settled mass of particles. The settling of particles
to a rest location rather than mechanical placement was also considered a factor which
could contribute to higher void ratio being produced from the hydraulic, rather than dry,
placement of fill.

To determine the effect of wet placement of maximum void ratio, it was imperative that
the slurry was prepared as a very thin paste (to avoid coagulation of particles). A solids
to water volume ratio of 1:3 was used for all tests.

3.5.1 Apparatus for Maximum Void Ratio by Wet Placement


Figure 3.8 shows the apparatus that was used to determine the maximum wet void ratio.
It was fully designed and constructed as part of the research undertaken during this
project.

Figure 3. 8– Apparatus for Determining the Maximum Void Ratio by Wet Placement

The apparatus was constructed from a 90 mm diameter hollow cylinder 800 mm in


length (Figure 3.8) with a perforated base as shown in Figure 3.9.

40
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Figure 3.9 – Base of Void-Ratio Testing Apparatus

3.5.2 Procedure for Determining Void Ratio by Wet Placement


1. The void-ratio testing apparatus was completely dried out.
2. Using Whatman filter paper (No. 52), two 110 mm diameter circles were
carefully cut out and placed at the base of the testing apparatus ensuring all
perforations were completely covered.
3. The mass of the apparatus and filter paper was measured and recorded.
4. The apparatus was then set up as shown in figure 3.10.

Funnel

Void Ratio
Apparatus

Filter Paper

Apparatus Stand
Hollow Cylinder

Figure 3.10– Set up of Void-Ratio Testing Apparatus

5. An empty bucket was placed on the scales and the scales zeroed.
6. A predetermined weight of prepared hydraulic fill (1056 g) was placed in the
bucket.

41
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

7. Another bucket was placed on the Mettler PC24 scales, which were
subsequently tared. The predetermined amount of water (1910) was then
measured into the beaker, and added to the hydraulic fill. This gives a slurry
water content of 181%
8. The ingredients were mixed thoroughly until a constant homogeneous mixture
was achieved.
9. After the mixing was complete, the slurry was poured into testing apparatus. A
funnel and piping was used to guide the paste and reduce spillage.
10. The water was allowed to drain through the apparatus for approximately 24
hours or until no decant water was observed as shown in Figure 3.11.

Figure 3.11– Drained Hydraulic Fill

11. The total mass of the ‘drained’ fill and cylinder was then measured and
recorded.
12. The mass of an empty tray was recorded. The tray number was also noted.
13. The contents of the cylinder were poured carefully into the tray and the total
mass recorded. The tray was placed into an oven at 105° C until the soil was
completely dry.

42
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

14. The mass of the dry soil and tray was measured and recorded.

3.5.3 Calculations
Using the procedure outlined in 3.4.2, the maximum dry density and void ratio were
calculated.

msolids
ρd = Equation 3. 10
Vtotal
where,
ρd = dry density (g/cm3)
msolids = mass of solids (g)
Vtotal = total volume of (cm3)

Gs S
e= −1 Equation 3. 11
ρd
where,
e = void ratio
Gs = specific gravity
S = saturation, assumed as 1 for all void ratio testing.

3.5.4 Results of the Wet Placement on Maximum Void Ratio


A minimum of four wet-placement maximum void ratio tests was completed for two
different hydraulic fills and the average results presented in Table 3.4. Refer to
Appendix B for results of all void ratio testing.

Table 3. 2– Maximum Wet Void Ratio Results

Maximum Maximum Void


Sample Dry Void Ratio by Wet % Difference
Ratio Placement
A 0.944 1.041 10%
F 1.048 1.069 2%

These results illustrate that in both cases the maximum void ratio derived using the
hydraulically placed and drained fill, is higher than that predicted by the dry placement,
as per the Australian Standards AS1289.5.5.1 – 1998. The difference of 2% is not
considered overly significant, however the difference of 10% from Sample F is. Further
investigations are required into the how the physical properties (specific gravity, D10
etc) of hydraulic fill affect the sedimentation process time and the final void ratio.

43
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

3.6 Empirical Correlation for Permeability


Several formulae have been published relating the permeability of soils, to their particle
size characteristics and other classification data. An analysis into the validity of some of
these permeability relationships was performed. Results were obtained from past and
present laboratory testing.

3.6.1 Hazen’s Equation

Hazen (1930) related the permeability to the effective grain size of a soil using the
equation:

k = C1D102 Equation 2.2

where,
k = permeability, cm/s
D10 = grain size in millimetres for which 10% of the particles pass by weight
C1 = Hazen’s constant, (approximately 1, discussed in section 2.6)

As indicated by Lambe & Whitman (1979), the value of constant C in Hazen’s equation
varies quite significantly from Hazen’s proposed value of 1.0. Table 3.5 illustrates the
values of C obtained from the recent laboratory testing of hydraulic fill at James Cook
University.

Table 3.3– Hazen’s Constant for Various Hydraulic Fills

Permeability, k
Hazen's Constant C
(m/s)
2.41E-06 1.45
5.26E-07 1.49
1.57E-07 0.09
5.74E-06 0.85
6.30E-06 0.73
1.05E-05 1.36
6.78E-06 2.37
8.42E-06 1.30
9.20E-06 1.68
7.71E-06 1.15
9.22E-06 1.53
7.83E-06 1.18
5.30E-06 0.55
5.73E-06 1.36

From Table 3.4, Hazen’s constant ranges from as little as 0.09 to 2.37.

44
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Figure 3.12 illustrates Hazen’s relationship compared to a number of in situ


permeability test results obtained from Leonards (1962). Leonards data in figure 3.12,
were obtained through field tests on sands in the middle and lower Mississippi River
Valley, USA. There is limited evidence of the validity of Hazen’s equation for
hydraulic fills.

All the hydraulic fill data from the James Cook University database were plotted in
Figure 3.12 and it is quite clear that Hazen’s equation holds quite well with the constant
C around 0.4 to 1.5 for most tests.

The variation exhibited in C1, the constant in Hazen’s relationship are based on a
number of contributing factors. Hazen’s relationship was developed for clean, fairly
uniform sands in a loose condition. Permeability testing conducted at James Cook
University used hydraulic fill, which contains up to 10% fines by weight and is not
uniform. Furthermore, when measuring permeability, a constant head of water was
applied to the fill, thus fill was not in its loosest condition.

3.6.2 Karol’s Empirical Relationship


Karol (1960) related the permeability of a sample to the square of the void ratio:

k ∝ e2 Equation 3. 12

which may also be written as:

k = C1e 2
Equation 3. 13
∴ log k = 2C1 log e
This implies that plotting k against e, both in log scales, should give a linear relationship, similar to
Hazen’s.

It can be seen from Figure 3.13 that, while the void ratios for most granular soils varied
within a typical range of 0.6 to 1.0, the spread in the permeability values was in orders
of magnitude, varying from 10-3 cm/s to 10-6 cm/s. When observing the data from the
permeability testing of hydraulic fills, by the JCU Geomechanics Laboratory Testing
(2002), it can be seen that the permeability results obtained, tend to be significantly
higher than those obtained from other researchers e.g. Lambe and Whitman, 1979, on

45
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

similar silty soils. The desliming of mill tailings can thus be assumed to provide a
significant benefit in increased permeability.

3.6.3 Lambe’s Empirical Relationship


Lambe’s relationship (1951) developed a relationship, relating permeability to the void
ratio also. The relationship took the form of Equation 3.14.

e3
k ∝ Equation 3. 14
1+ e
By excluding the use of any constants, Lambe (1951) suggests that the void ratio is the
sole factor that determines the permeability of a soil mass. This approach although
simple to implement and use, may oversimplify the factors influencing permeability.

A validity check of the equation proposed by Lambe (1951) was computed with the
assembled data and is presented in Figure 3.14.

3.6.4 Das’ Empirical Relationship


In recent times, Das (1985) also developed an equation relating the permeability and
void ratio of a soil.

e 2
k∝ Equation 3. 15
1 + e

The plot of Das (1985) and Lambe (1951) show strong similarities. In both diagrams
the trends shown appear reasonably strong, suggesting that the void ratio is a significant
factor in the determination of permeability of soils. Both the Das (1985) and Lambe
(1951) approximations are thought to provide a more reasonable approximation to
permeability than Karol (1960).

46
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

1.E+00

1.E-01
Perneability k (cm/s)

1.E-02 C = 10

C = 1.0

1.E-03 C = 0.1
C = 1.5

C = 0.4
1.E-04

JCU

Leonards (1962)

1.E-05
1.E-03 1.E-02 1.E-01 1.E+00
Effective Diameter D10 (mm)

Figure 3. 19– Hazen’s Empirical Correlation

47
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

1.E+00

1.E-01 -2
C = 1 x 10

1.E-02
-3
C = 1 x 10

1.E-03
Permeability k (cm/s)

-4
C = 1 x 10

1.E-04 -5
C = 1 x 10

1.E-05 -6
C = 1 x 10

1.E-06 -7
C = 1 x 10

1.E-07 -8
C = 1.11 x 10

1.E-08

1.E-09
0.1 1.0 10.0
Void Ratio, e

JCU Results, Hydraulic Fill Silty Sand (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Boston I (Lambe & Whitman)
Silt Boston II (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Boston III (Lambe & Whitman) Silt - Nth Carolina (Lambe & Whitman)

Figure 3. 12– Karol’s Empirical Relationship

48
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

100

10
e /(1+e)

1
3

0
1.0E-09 1.0E-08 1.0E-07 1.0E-06 1.0E-05 1.0E-04 1.0E-03 1.0E-02
Permeability k (cm/s)

JCU Results Silty Sand (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Boston I (Lambe & Whitman)

Silt Boston II (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Boston III (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Nth Carolina (Lambe & Whitman)

Figure 3.13– Lambe’s Empirical Relationship

10

1
e / (1+ e)
2

0
1.0E-09 1.0E-08 1.0E-07 1.0E-06 1.0E-05 1.0E-04 1.0E-03 1.0E-02
Permeability k (cm/s)

JCU Results Silty Sand (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Boston I (Lambe & Whitman)

Silt Boston II (Lambe & Whitman) Silt Boston III (Lambe & Whitman) Silt - North Carolina

Figure 3. 14– Das’ Empirical Relationship

49
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

3.6.5 Rankine’s Permeability Empirical Correlation


To investigate the effect of properties, other than the void ratio, on the permeability of
fills, an investigation was conducted using the data obtained from the permeability
testing of hydraulic fills, from Mines A to F.

Initially it was though beneficial to investigate simple property trends, which included
the grain size distribution and specific gravity. The effect of the uniformity of grain size
distribution was considered pertinent for the backfill technology. During the processing
of ore, the rocks material are crushed / pulverized down to a specified grain size, which
is suitable for the extraction of ore. This particular facet of hydraulic fill production
causes the fills to be more uniform, than they would otherwise occur in nature. It was
also considered pertinent to study the effect of specific gravity on permeability.
Specific gravity, as defined previously, affects the rate of settlement from the hydraulic
slurry. The higher the specific gravity of the material, the faster the fill settles from the
slurry. By investigating the effect of specific gravity to permeability, an indication as to
the settlement time on permeability may be obtained.

Figure 3.16 shows the trend of the uniformity co-efficient against the permeability of
the fill. A linear trend can be seen.

10

7
Uniformity Coefficient Cu

0
0.E+00 2.E-04 4.E-04 6.E-04 8.E-04 1.E-03 1.E-03
Permeability, k (cm/s)

Figure 3.15– Trends of Uniformity Coefficient versus Permeability

50
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

From this, we are able to conclude that hydraulic fills tend to provide better drainage
when they are well graded, as opposed to when they are gap graded.

Similarly the specific gravity was plotted against the permeability samples, in Figure
3.17, with some interesting trends being observed.

4.5

4.3

4.1

3.9
Specific Gravity, Gs

3.7

3.5

3.3

3.1

2.9

2.7

2.5
0.E+00 2.E-04 4.E-04 6.E-04 8.E-04 1.E-03 1.E-03
Permeability, k (cm/s)

Figure 3.16– Trends of Specific Gravity versus Permeability


In general terms, the permeability of materials of higher specific gravity, had higher
permeability and vice versa.

The following relationship was proposed relating the specific gravity, uniformity
coefficient and permeability.

Cu
k∝ Equation 3. 16
1000 G s
where,
k = permeability (cm/s)
Cu = uniformity coefficient
Gs = Specific Gravity

Figure 3.18 displays the relationship involving these three parameters.

51
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

4.0E+00

JCU (2002)
3.5E+00

3.0E+00

2.5E+00
Cu/(1000*Gs)

2.0E+00
C = 0.2

1.5E+00
C = 0.4

1.0E+00

C = 0.6
5.0E-01

0.0E+00
0.E+00 2.E-04 4.E-04 6.E-04 8.E-04 1.E-03 1.E-03
Permeability (cm/s)

Figure 3. 17– Rankine’s Permeability Relationship

52
Chapter 3 Slurry Sedimentation

Rankine’s permeability trends have made a definite attempt to quantify the effect of
physical properties of a fill mass on permeability. Previously, only the effect of void
ratio and effective grain size has been investigated and reported in literature. From the
observed trends, it would appear that the effective grain size of a soil plays a larger
more defining role in the permeability of a fill mass. However, it is suggested further
testing on a wider range of minefills (including pastefills, which use full mill tailings),
be carried out to confirm the aforementioned relationships.

53
Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

CHAPTER 4

LABORATORY MODELLING OF DRAINAGE THROUGH HYDRAULIC


FILLS AND BARRICADES

4.1 General
An investigation into the fundamental aspects of permeability and drainage process in
hydraulically backfilled stopes was undertaken using a laboratory scaled model of a
stope of specific geometry.

The scaled model was designed and constructed to represent a similar stope located at
Mount Isa Mines Ltd in Central Queensland. The primary objectives of the laboratory
model was to investigate the effect of:
• barricade distance along the drain outlet, and
• various drain arrangements typical for a stope,
on discharge through the drains.

The scale applied to the modelled stope was 1:100; that is 1 cm on the model is to
represent 1 m in the operating backfill system. A numerical model developed in
FLAC3D was used to verify the results obtained from the laboratory testing. The
numerical modelling work is discussed in chapter 5.

Figure 4.1 shows the flownet, in a two dimensional stope. The fill was assumed as
homogeneous and isotropic.

Figure 4. 1– Flow net for a 2-dimensional Hydraulic Fill Stope (Kuganathan, 2002)

54
Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

As the hydraulic fill is assumed as homogenous and isotropic, the general flow paths of
water through the hydraulic fill of a two-dimensional stope may be assumed as those
shown in figure 4.1.

Darcy (1892), related seepage velocity to hydraulic gradient and defined the
permeability coefficient for flow of water through the soil. It was assumed that the
permeability coefficient remains constant throughout the laboratory and numerical
testing. The hydraulic gradient refers to the fall in hydraulic head per unit length. As
the scale of 1:100 is applied to the entire geometry of the laboratory-modeled and
numerical stopes, the dimensionless value for the hydraulic gradient remains the same
for corresponding points on the modeled and actual stopes. Therefore, when Darcy’s
theory is applied to the laboratory, numerical and actual stopes, the seepage velocities
are equal.

4.1 Scale Model Testing Apparatus


Figure 4.2 displays the model stope used throughout the laboratory model testing. The
testing apparatus was designed and constructed to represent a similar stope at Mount Isa
Mines Ltd. The scale used is 1:100.

Figure 4. 2– Testing Apparatus of Model Stope

55
Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

4.1.1 Stope Design


The model stope was designed and constructed to represent a scale model of a stope 15
m wide, 15 m long and 60 m high. After applying the scale factor, this was equivalent
to a modelled stope 150 mm x 150 mm x 600 mm. An additional 150 mm was added to
the height of the modelled stope to allow for any splash when pouring the hydraulic fill.
Thus, the final dimensions of the designed modelled stope were 150 mm x 150 mm x
750 mm. The vessel was constructed from 6 mm thick Perspex (Northern Perspex
Supplies, Townsville) with the sidewalls and base glued together.

4.1.2 Location of Drain Outlets


A total of six drains are located along faces of the stope walls. These drains have been
numbered as shown in Figure 4.3.

Drain 5
Drai

Drain 6

Drain 1
Drain 3

Drain 4

Figure 4. 3– Drain Locations along Stope Face

The hollow drain outlets were also constructed of Perspex and had inside dimensions of
40 mm x 40 mm and with a length of 150 mm. Drains 1 and 2 were positioned along
one face of the stope. As shown in Figure 4.3, one drain was positioned at the bottom
centre of the stope face (drain 1), whilst the other was positioned 450 mm up from the

56
Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

base (drain 2). The arrangement was repeated on the opposite side of the stope using
drains 3, 4, 5 and 6. As seen in Figure 4.3, each set of drains (i.e. drains 3 & 4 or drains
5 & 6) were positioned on opposite corners of the stope face.

A ‘drop-gate’ was designed at each of the six drain outlets to allow the stope to simulate
a number of standard drainage-outlet arrangements having any drain either open or
closed. Figure 4.4 shows the components of the drain-outlet.

Drop Gate

Drain 1

Figure 4. 4– Drain Outlet with ‘Drop-gate’

4.1.3 Barricade Design


In actual stopes, barricades are generally made of very porous, concrete bricks, which
have much larger permeabilities than the tailings they contain. Values of permeability
of the barricades can be as high as that of coarse gravels. In other words, the barricade
can be assumed as free draining for all practical purposes.

A free draining barricade consisting of a 2 mm thick square hollow section (SHS), 2


mm steel mesh and geo-fabric drainmat was constructed for each of the drain outlets.
Figure 4.5 shows a sample barricade and its components used for the laboratory testing.

To produce a free draining barricade, it was imperative that the drainmat be completely
saturated before testing commenced. If the drainmat was not completely saturated, the
entrapped gave resistance to the flow in the early stages of drainage. The drainmat

57
Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

enabled water to seep through the barricade without incurring any head loss; while
preventing the hydraulic fill from being carried away through the pores in the drainmat.

Barricade Components

Barricade

Figure 4. 5– Barricade and Components

4.2 Experimental Program


All scale model testing was conducted using MIM tailings. All relevant laboratory tests
were previously carried out on the tailings to determine their properties. The properties
of the hydraulic fill are shown in table 4.1 and the grain size distribution is shown in
figure 4.6.

Table 4. 4 – Properties of MIM Hydraulic Fill


Tailings Properties
Specific Gravity 2.87
Permeability 4.2x10-4 cm/s
Bulk Density 1.4 t/m3
Porosity 0.44
D10 12.9 µm
D30 58.9 µm
D60 131.3 µm
Cc 10.3
Cu 2.0
*
Determined from the sample obtained by sedimenting the slurry

58
Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

100

90

80

70

60
Percent Finer

50

40

30

20

10

0
1 10 100 1000 10000
Particule size (um)

Figure 4. 6– Grain Size Distribution of MIM Hydraulic Fill

4.2.2 Preparation of Tailings Slurry


All tailings slurry was prepared at 70 % solids. A brief procedure entailing the
preparation of the tailings is given below.
1. The predetermined mass of MIM hydraulic dry fill (2.4 kg) was placed into each
of the 8 separate buckets.
2. A clean, dry bucket was then placed on the Mettler PC24 scales, which were
subsequently zeroed. The predetermined amount of water (1.029 litres) was then
measured into the bucket.
3. The water was carefully poured into one of the hydraulic-filled buckets.
4. The ingredients were mixed thoroughly, until a homogeneous mixture was
obtained.
5. Steps 2 through 4 were repeated until the remaining 7 buckets contained
homogeneous slurry.

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Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

4.2.3 Experimental Methodology


The experimental methodology consisted of testing three basic drain arrangements,
common to the mining industry.

PART A – Varying Drain Location Along Stope Wall

Table 4.2 displays the various drain outlet arrangements tested. To investigate the effect
of drain arrangement on discharge, the barricade was placed at a constant distance of 1
cm from the stope face.

Table 4. 1– Drain Outlet Arrangements

Drain Outlet
Drain
Arrangment 1 2 3 4 5 6

1 Open Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed


2 Open Open Closed Closed Closed Closed
3 Closed Closed Open Open Open Open

Procedure
1. The model stope (Figure 4.1) was dried completely and placed on a flat surface.
2. The stope was then set up for drain arrangement 1 as specified in Table 4.2. The
drop gates for all closed drains were completely sealed and the remaining ‘open-
drains’ were fully open to ensure an obstruction-free outlet.
3. The barricades for each of the open drains were saturated and placed within the
drain outlet at the closest point to the stope face. This is equivalent to a
barricade distance of 1cm from the stope face, due to the design and
construction of the apparatus.
4. A small, dry container was placed under each of the open-drains. Initially the
mass of these empty, containers was recorded.
5. One of the previously prepared tailings slurry was obtained and carefully re-
mixed to ensure no segregation had occurred.
6. A timer was started, and the slurry steadily poured into the model stope over a
duration of 5 minutes.
7. Immediately after pouring was completed; at 5 minutes; the drainage rate was
recorded.

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Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

8. The mix was then allowed to rest for five minutes and the drainage rate recorded
9. Steps 5 through 8 were then repeated for the remaining seven buckets.
10. Drainage rate readings were recorded continuously at 5-minute intervals over an
entire duration of 90 minutes.
11. At the end of 90 minutes, the contents of the stope was then poured back into
clean oven trays and placed in oven at 105° C.
12. Steps 1 – 11 was repeated for each drain arrangement outlined in Table 4.2

Drainage rate readings were recorded by measuring the mass of water drained during a
given duration. A minimum of two tests was performed for each of the drain
arrangements.

PART B – Varying Barricade Position along Drain Outlet


The effect of barricade position along the drainage outlet was also investigated. Table
4.3 shows the various drain arrangements and barricade positions tested in the
laboratory modelling exercise.

Table 4. 2– Barricade Position at Various Drainage Outlet Arrangements

Drain Outlet Barricade Distance


Drain
from face of Stope
Arrangment 1 2 3 4 5 6
(cm)
1 Open Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed 0 5
2 Open Open Closed Closed Closed Closed 0 5
3 Closed Closed Open Open Open Open 0 5

The procedure outlined in Part A was repeated a placing the drain at the various
distances outlined in table 4.3.

4.3 Results
The following figures represent the experimental results obtained for each of the
various drain arrangements. An average of the trials for each test was used. For a
summary of all experimental results, refer to Appendix B.

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Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

4.3.1 Drain Arrangement 1

0.25
Barricade at 1 cm
Barricade at 5 cm

0.20

0.15
Discharge (g/s)

0.10

0.05

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 4. 7– Experimental Results: Drain Arrangement 1

From Figure 4.7, the following trends are observed:


• As the position of barricade progresses further from the stope face, the discharge
rate decreases.
• The discharge follows a stepped increase, correlating the rest and pour periods
of the filling sequence.
• Discharge rate fluctuates during the initial 20 minutes of testing
• Initial discharge reading in figure 4.7, is relatively high. This is a result of the
preparation of the barricades. To remove all entrapped air, the barricades were
saturated before filling.

4.3.2 Drain Arrangement 2


Figures 4.8 and 4.9 illustrate the experimental results obtained for each of the barricade
distances. The discharges through Drain 1 and Drain 2 are plotted separately in Figures
4.8 and 4.9 respectively.

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Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

0.20
Barricade at 1 cm

0.18 Barricade at 5 cm

0.16

0.14

0.12
Discharge (g/s)

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 4. 8– Experimental Results: Drain Arrangement 2: Drain 1

1.2

Barricade at 1 cm

Barricade at 5 cm
1.0

0.8
Discharge (g/s)

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
time (min)

Figure 4.9 – Experimental Results: Drain Arrangement 2: Drain 2

From Figure 4.8 the following trends were observed:


• As before, drain 1 follows a stepped increase in discharge; correlating to the
pour and rest periods of the filling sequence.

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Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

• The initial discharge reading in Drain 1 was quite high, possible due to
saturating the barricades prior to filling. The excess water appears to have been
flushed out initially causing the high discharge reading.
• As the position of barricade progresses further from the stope face, the discharge
rate decreases.

From Figure 4.9, the following trends were observed:


• Discharge remained at zero, until the slurry height reached the drain, whereby
large discharge values were recorded. This was followed by a sharp decline in
discharge for both barricade models.
• The first discharge reading from drain 2 was measured at 55 minutes for both
barricade distances.

4.3.3 Drain Arrangement 3


Using drain arrangement 3, the discharge readings were recorded for the stope with a
barricade placed 1 cm from the stope wall. Figure 4.10 and Figure 4.11 illustrates the
experimental results for drains 3 and 4 and drains 5 & 6 respectively. As the stope was
symmetrical, it was assumed values from drain 3 were the same as those from drain 4.
Figure 4.10 illustrates the discharge readings per drain.

0.14

0.12

0.1
discharge (g/s)

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 4. 10– Drain Arrangement 3: Drains 3 and 4

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Chapter 4 Laboratory Modelling

Figure 4.11, illustrates the discharge readings per drain for drains 5 and 6.

1.2

0.8
Discharge (g/s)

0.6

0.4

0.2

0
60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
time (min)

Figure 4. 11– Drain Arrangement 3: Drains 5 and 6

The following trends were observed in Figure 4.10 and 4.11


• In Figure 4.10, the discharge values fluctuated quite considerably between rest
and pour periods of the filling cycle. However, from this figure it is obvious that
the discharge increases during pouring and decreases during the rest periods of
the filling cycle.
• As discussed in previous drain arrangements, in Figure 4.11 the discharge
remains at zero until the slurry height reaches the upper drains (drains 5 and 6).
Where upon a sharp increase in discharge is recorded. This steep increase in
discharge is representative of the decant water freely flowing through the upper
drains.

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Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

CHAPTER 5

NUMERICAL MODELLING OF DRAINAGE THROUGH HYDRAULIC FILLS


AND BARRICADES

5.1 General
A 3-dimensional modelling tool which allows accurate prediction of pore pressure
development throughout the filling and draining of a three dimensional fill stope of
specific geometry was developed using the finite difference program FLAC3D. The in-
built programming language FISH was used to write simple subroutines for functions
that were not available in FLAC3D. The remaining code was written in a batch file.

The model aims to simulate what was observed in the laboratory testing of a scale-
model of a hydraulic-filled stope located at Mount Isa Mines in North West
Queensland, Australia. The program assumes a saturated, flow-only problem thus,
Darcy’s law, which defines the relationship between the specific discharge and pore
pressure, was applicable. It was also assumed that the tailings form an incompressible
soil skeleton and the slurry is assumed as homogeneous. Previous work with hydraulic
fills indicates that they undergo little consolidation (Cowling, 2002); therefore the
coupling effect can be ignored within this study.

5.2 Background Information on FLAC3D


FLAC3D (Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua in 3 Dimensions) is a three-
dimensional, explicit finite-difference computer program for solving geo-mechanical
problems. FLAC3D simulates the behaviour of three-dimensional structures built of soil,
rock or other materials that undergo plastic flow when their yield limits are reached.
This program allows simulation of transient flow of fluid in saturated porous materials.
The flow calculation can be performed by itself; independent of the usual mechanical
calculation of FLAC3D, or it can be done in parallel with mechanical modelling, to
capture the effects of fluid/solid interaction.

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Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

The explicit finite difference formulation of the code makes it ideally suited for
modelling geo-technical problems that consist of several stages, such as sequential
excavation, backfilling and loading. The formulation can accommodate large
displacements and strains and non-linear material behaviour, even if yield or failure
occurs over a large area or if total collapse occurs.

In this program materials are represented by polyhedral elements within a three-


dimensional grid that is adjusted by the user to fit the shape of the object to be
modelled. Each element behaves according to a prescribed linear or non-linear stress/
strain law in response to applied forces or boundary restraints. The material can yield
and flow, and the grid can deform and move with the material that is represented. The
constitutive models incorporated in FLAC3D include:
• Null (excavations) model
• Elasticity models (isotropic, transversely isotropic and orthotropic elasticity)
• Plasticity models (Drucker-Prager, Mohr-Coulomb, strain-hardening/ softening,
ubiquitous-joint, bilinear strain-hardening/softening ubiquitous-joint, double-
yield and modified Cam-clay)

Rankine et al (2001) have previously used FLAC3D to numerically simulate the


excavation, filling and curing of paste fills from BHP Cannington Mine.

5.2.1 Numerical Modelling Methods


Numerical models are generally classified as finite element models (FEM’s), finite
difference models (FDM’s), integrated models or boundary element models. A brief
definition of these models is given below:
• Finite Element Models (FEM): These mathematical models represent a body or
structure by an assemblage of subdivisions called finite elements. Using simple
approximations for the distribution of the variable of interest, a series of element
equations are written that satisfy static equilibrium or the conservation of energy
equation. Equations are then solved simultaneously to obtain the desired
information.
• Finite Differential Models (FDM): The body or structure is divided into a series of
finite zones. A set of algebraic expressions written in terms of forward, backward

67
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

and central difference is written using the derivatives of the governing equations for
the system. These equations are then solved simultaneously for the variable of
interest.
• Integrated Models: There are three subsets to this modelling technique, which
include the boundary element model, the boundary integral model and the
displacement discontinuity model. In these methods it is assumed that the variable
of interest can be modelled as a function of its value at the boundary of the system
of investigation.
• Boundary Element Models: The boundary element method discretises the interfaces
between zones of different properties, characteristics or activity. The boundary
element method requires much less elements to define the volume of interest, but
generally requires more analysis.

5.2.2 Review of Available Numerical Modelling Packages


There are several numerical software packages that are available commercially. Some
of the more generic programs include:
- ABAQUS (FEM)
- ADINA (FEM)
- ANSYS (FEM)
- STRAND6 (FEM)

Packages targeted specially for geotechnical problems include:


- FLAC (FDM)
- FLAC3D (FDM)
- GeoFEAP (FEM)
- SAFE (FEM)
- ZSOIL (FEM)
- AFENA (FEM)

FLAC is a two-dimensional programme that can solve plain strain and axisymetric
problems. Most geotechnical problems can be simplified or approximated into two-
dimensional problems and thus FLAC is adequate. However, in the case of studying
drainage through a hydraulic filled stope with varying geometries, FLAC3D is a more
versatile tool. FLAC3D extends the analytical capability of FLAC into three

68
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

dimensions, simulating the behaviour of three-dimensional structures built of soil, rock


or other materials that undergo plastic flow when their yield limits are reached. Most of
the commands used in FLAC3D are the same as or three-dimensional extensions of,
those used in FLAC. A menu driven, graphical user interface is also available in
FLAC3D for performing plotting, printing and file access.

FLAC3D contains an automatic 3D generator in which grids are created buy


manipulating pre-defined shapes. The generator permits the creating of intersecting
internal regions (eg. Intersecting tunnels). The 3D grid is defined by a global x,y,z-
coordinate system rather than in a row-and column fashion as in FLAC.

5.2.3 Comparison between FLAC3D and Other Numerical Methods


Unlike other more typical finite element modelling packages, FLAC3D employs a finite
difference method to simulate the behaviour of structures built in soil, rock or other
materials. Both methods translate a set of differential equations into matrix equations
for each element, relating forces to displacements at nodes. Although FLAC3D
equations are derived by the finite difference method, the resulting element matrices for
an elastic material are identical to those of the finite element method. However, FLAC
differs in the following respects:
• The full dynamic equations of motion are used, even with modelling systems that
are essentially static. This enables FLAC to follow physically unstable processes
without numerical distress.
• The “mixed discretization” scheme (Marti and Cundall, vide FLAC3D User’s Guide)
is used for accurate modelling of plastic collapse loads and plastic flow. This
scheme is believed to be physically more justifiable then the “reduced integration”
scheme commonly used with finite elements.
• An “explicit” solution scheme is used in contrast to the more common implicit
methods. The explicit solution offers a number of advantages over the implicit
solution technique:
– Small time steps in the numerical integration mean that the solution
can easily handle highly non-linear behaviour and can follow details of
the actual stress path, which can be a very important consideration in
non-linear systems;

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Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

– As there is no underlying assumption that the system is in equilibrium,


the programs can model the evolution of a system to an equilibrium
configuration or to collapse, without suffering numerical instabilities.

Although these differences are mainly in favour of FLAC3D, there are two
disadvantages.
• The linear simulations run slower with FLAC3D than with equivalent finite element
programs;
• The solution time with FLAC3D is determined by the ratio of the longest natural
period to the shortest natural period in the system being modelled. Since FLAC3D
executes in only a DOS or Windows environment for extremely complicated
problems the solution time may be as high as 12 hours or more. A Unix version is
expected to be released soon allowing FLAC3D to operate on super-computers thus
reducing computation time significantly. The drainage problems in this study have
taken up to 6 – 8 hours to solve for medium size grids.

5.3 Numerical Implementation


In order to set up the numerical model three fundamental components of the problem
must be specified:
1) Initial conditions;
2) Boundary conditions; and
3) Input Parameters.
A brief outline of these is given below.

5.3.1 Initial Conditions


The model developed for this thesis, is a ‘flow-only’ simulation. It is assumed that the
pores of the fill beneath the phreatic surface are completely filled with water, and the
filling rates are designed such that the water level remains above the fill level
throughout the entire filling of the stope. In other words, the entire fill is saturated. The
fluid is assumed as homogeneous, isotropic with a constant fluid density; therefore flow
is governed by Darcy’s law (5.1).

[
qi = − k p − ρ f xi g j ]
,i
Equation 5. 1

70
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

where,
qi = specific discharge vector [m/s]
p = pore pressure [Pa]
k = is the permeability coefficient [m4/Ns]
ρf = is the fluid density [kg/m3]
gi = gravity where i =1- 3, are the three components of the gravity vector [m/s2]
xi = nodal co-ordinate

To define a flow problem with FLAC3D, initial conditions must be specified in terms of
consistent pore pressure and saturation fields. By default a FLAC3D fluid flow analysis
adopts a saturation value of one, and the default pore pressure value assigned to zones,
is zero pascals. For each step in the solution sequence, the zones representing fill are
assigned with fluid flow model parameters, and the remaining zones are assigned the
‘null’ model (i.e. void). Operation of the model requires input of the filling rates,
durations and specific fill flow characteristics for the zones simulating the fill material.
These parameters were obtained from extensive laboratory testing on the fill material
and are shown in Table 5.1.

Table 5. 1– Numerical Model Parameters


Hydraulic Fill Properties
Specific Gravity 2.87
Permeability 4.2x10-4 cm/s
Bulk Density 1.4 t/m3
Porosity 0.44
% wt Solids 70%
Moisture Content* 42.9%
Void Ratio* 1.2
* Calculated Slurry parameters

5.3.2 Boundary Conditions


The model consists of a three-dimensional mesh representing the stope and the access
drives, of a typical underground open-stoping mine. All walls and the base of the stope
were assigned impervious characteristics to correspond to the behaviour of adjacent
intact rock in an in-situ situation and the Perspex boundaries used in the scale model.
The grid contains 15 zones in both the width and depth directions, and 60 zones in the
vertical direction. Each zone was designed as a cube, with 1 cm length in all three
directions. These dimensions replicated the dimensions used in the 1:100 scale model,

71
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

used for the experimental study in the laboratory. Depending on the drain-outlet
arrangement, drain(s) were generated along the face of the stope wall. These drains
were also generated on a cube of 1 cm length to maintain similitude with the rest of the
model. The drain outlets were 4 zones in both depth and height, and thus replicated the
16 cm2 drain size used in the scale model and 16 m2 in the field model. The barricades
were located at a distance of 1 – 15 cm away from the face of the stopes along the
various drain outlet arrangements.

Three different drain outlet arrangements were studied. In the first arrangement, there
was a single drain at the bottom of the stope in the centre. The second arrangement had
an additional drain 45cm above the first drain. And finally, the third arrangement had
two drains at each level, at the stope edges. These arrangements are shown in Figure
5.1.

Figure 5. 1- Drain Outlet Arrangements

5.3.3 Input Parameters


The full geotechnical characteristics of the hydraulic fill, as determined in the
laboratory are given in Table 4.1. From these properties, only permeability and porosity
were required as input parameters for the FLAC3D model. Refer to Figure 4.6 for the
average grain size distribution for the hydraulic fill used within the simulations.

5.3.4 Numerical Simulation


The numerical simulation discussed herein is a perfect replica of what was carried out
in the laboratory modelling. The purpose of this exercise is to compare the

72
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

experimental and numerical simulations, and to demonstrate the use of FLAC3D as a


potential tool for studying drainage through hydraulic fills and barricades.

3D
In the FLAC numerical approach, the flow domain is discretized into brick-shaped
zones defined by numerous nodes. Both fill porosity and permeability are assigned to
the flow region; then filling rates, volumes, durations and the stage of the filling
sequence define the region.

The pore pressure at all drain outlets was fixed at zero Pascals, and a loop was created
incorporating the standard pouring cycle. The fill and water levels were sequentially
lifted in one minute intervals for 5 minutes. At the end of each minute, the discharge
through the drain(s) was computed and the corresponding water level reduction
calculated and subtracted from the total water level. After the five minutes of filling, a
five minute rest period (where only drainage occurred) was simulated by calculating the
discharge at the end of each minute, and once again reducing the total water level
accordingly. This filling and resting sequence was cycled through until the stope had
been completely filled, and then the program was reduced to drainage only. The
program continued to solve in one minute intervals until the water level was reduced to
the height of the lowest barricade, or the program was terminated. The program was
solved for 90 minutes and the results collected for a comparison to the scale model
results.

The total discharge from the free-draining barricades, and individual drain discharge
over every minute interval, was collated and tabulated into an excel spreadsheet. These
values are shown in Appendix B.

5.4 Validation Model

The three-dimensional model generated within this thesis was validated against an
existing two-dimensional model developed by Isaacs and Carter (1982), that is currently
being used in industry.

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Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

8.E-01

7.E-01

6.E-01
Volume Discharge (m3)

5.E-01

4.E-01

3.E-01

FLAC
2.E-01

ISAACS &
CARTER
1.E-01
FLAC 3D

0.E+00
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
Time (hrs)

Figure 5. 2– Validation of Discharge against Isaacs and Carter

The comparison of FLAC and Isaacs and Carter (1982), was based on a simulation
which due to the two-dimensional nature of the program assumes the drain to exist as a
1 m high outlet. FLAC was based on a psuedo 2-D model, that was modelled in the
three-dimensional package FLAC3D, but was simulated as very thin 3-dimensional
stope, essentially representing the two-dimensional situation that exists in the Isaacs and
3D
Carter program. The FLAC results were obtained from the actual 3 dimensional
representation of the stope (15 m x 15 m x 60 m). Isaacs and Carter’s model is based
on a 2-D model. As shown in Figure 5.2, by introducing a third dimension into the
FLAC program, there is little effect on the drainage, thus showing that the stope is a
good 2-D problem. Because the given example is essentially a two dimensional
problem, there is no difference in results between the pseudo 2-dimensional program
prepared in FLAC3D and the actual 3-dimensional model. The permeability coefficient
used for validating the models was 0.004m/hr.

From Figure 5.3, we can see that with regard to the water level within the system, the
various models compare comparatively well. The horizontal segments are for the rest

74
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

periods where there is no increase in water levels. In fact, there is a slight decrease as
some drainage occurs.

70

60

50

40
Height (m)

30

20

ISAACS & CARTER


10
FLAC

FLAC 3D

0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
Time (hrs)

Figure 5. 3 – Effect of Water Balance between Various Models

5.5 Sensitivity Analysis


A sensitivity analysis was used to ascertain how the given model output varied with the
input parameters. This analysis is an important method for checking the quality of a
given model, as well as a powerful tool for checking the robustness and reliability of its
analysis.

The following parameters were investigated:


- grid spacing
- coefficient of permeability
- porosity

5.5.1 Grid Sensitivity

For simplification, the two-dimensional program was used to perform the grid
sensitivity analysis. Grid spacings of 0.5 m, 1 m, 3 m, and 5 m were investigated.

75
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

1.E+00

1.E+00

1.E+00
Discharge (g/min)

8.E-01

6.E-01

4.E-01
1/2 m Grid

1 m Grid
2.E-01 3 m Grid

5 m Grid

0.E+00

3
9
5
1
7
3
9
5
1
7
3
9
5
1
7
1
7
13
19
25
31
37
43
49
55
61
67
73
79
85
91
97
10
10
11
12
12
13
13
14
15
15
16
16
17
18
18
Time (mins)

Figure 5. 4 – Sensitivity of Grid Fineness

As seen in figure 5.4, there is little variation in discharge between the 0.5, 1 and 3 m
grid spacings. The deviation in discharge from the 3 m grid spacing to the 5 m grid
spacing is quite considerable. From these results we can conclude that the model
becomes sensitive to grid spacings greater than 3 m.

Although the accuracy in discharge values is improved as the number of grid spaces is
increased, the time required to solve the simulations also increases. Consequently a
balance between the time required for solving and accurateness was necessary. A 1 m
grid spacing was selected for all computations within the simulations.

5.5.2 Permeability Sensitivity


The coefficient of permeability of the hydraulic fill was determined from constant and
falling head permeability tests. From these results, a range of permeability values was
obtained. These values ranged from a minimum of 2.5 x 10-4 cm/s to a maximum 4.2 x
10-4 cm/s. Figure 5.5 shows the effect of varying the permeability in the backfill.

76
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

3.5

2.5
Discharge (g/min)

1.5

Maximum
Permeability
0.5
Minimum
Permeability

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Time (mins)

Figure 5. 5 – Sensitivity Analysis for Range of Permeability Values

For a given geometry, velocity is proportional to the permeability, thus, it can be


expected that the rate of discharge also would be proportional to permeability. This is
clearly evident in figure 5.5.

The maximum permeability coefficient was used for all numerical simulations.

5.5.3 Porosity Sensitivity


The porosity of the hydraulic fill was obtained from the laboratory tests. The value used
was from permeability samples where slurry was sedimented under its own weight.
These values ranged between 0.39 – 0.49. As seen in Figure 5.6, the value of porosity
has no significant effect on the results. An average porosity value of 0.44 was applied to
all FLAC3D simulations.

77
Chapter 5 Numerical Modelling

3.5

2.5
Discharge (g/min)

1.5

Minumum Porosity

0.5 Maximum Porosity

Porosity Used

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Time (mins)

Figure 5. 6 – Porosity Sensitivity

78
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

CHAPTER 6

DRAINAGE MODEL: INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS

6.1 General
This chapter summarises the results of the laboratory model studies, and compares them
with the output of a newly developed FLAC3D numerical model. The investigation was
limited to three different configurations as shown in Figure 6.1. The number and
location of the barricades were chosen to represent typical scenarios used in
hydraulically backfilled stopes.

(a) Drain Arrangement 1 (b) Drain Arrangement 2 (c) Drain Arrangement 3

Figure 6. 1– Drain Arrangements Studied

The primary objectives of this exercise using a numerical and laboratory model, was to
investigate the effect of:
• barricade position along the drain outlet, and
• number of drains,
on the efficiency of drainage of excess water used for the hydraulic fill placement.

A summary of the drain arrangements used for the laboratory and numerical model
studies is given in Table 6.1. In all cases the same hydraulic fill was used, which was
considered homogeneous and isotropic. It was also assumed that negligible
consolidation occurs within the hydraulic fill after placement. Therefore, a flow-only
problem was studied and the coupling effect of consolidation was ignored.

79
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

Table 6. 1– Summary of Testing Performed

Drain Barricade Distance


Model
Arrangement from Stope Face
1 cm
Numerical 2 cm
(FLAC) 5 cm
1 10 cm
1 cm
Laboratory 5 cm
1 cm (long term)
Numerical 1 cm
(FLAC) 5 cm
2
1 cm
Laboratory
5 cm
Numerical 1 cm
(FLAC) 5 cm
3
Laboratory 1 cm

The geotechnical characteristics of the hydraulic fill sample are given in Table 4.1 and
Figure 4.6.

6.2 Comparison of Numerical and Experimental Predictions


The validation of the FLAC3D numerical model is required by comparison with
observed results. The results of both are presented and discussed within this section and
reasons for any anomalous results highlighted. In general the FLAC3D model replicated
the trends of the observed drainage, but under predicted the flow by approximately half.
This discrepancy could be attributed to the permeability value used as the input
parameter for the FLAC3D model. This value was obtained through percolation tests,
where the fill was in the form of a consolidated cake. However, during the
sedimentation process, the fill is in the form of slurry, therefore the permeability
coefficient used within the modelling is under predicted and should be much higher.

6.2.1 Drain Arrangement 1


Drain arrangement 1 consisted of a single 4 cm x 4 cm drain at the base of 15 cm x 15
cm x 60 cm stope, located centrally along the face of the stope. Figure 6.2 shows the
model as modelled in FLAC3D.

80
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

60cm
Drain 1

15cm
15cm

Figure 6.2– Drain Arrangement 1

Figure 6.3 illustrates the general trend in the variation of discharge as the position of the
barricade is varied within the drain outlet. Using the model developed in FLAC3D a
number of barricade positions ranging from 1 – 10 cm from the face of the stope was
investigated.

0.07

0.06

0.05
Discharge (g/s)

0.04

0.03

0.02

1 cm
0.01 2cm
5 cm
10 cm
0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 6.3– FLAC3D Results for Various Barricade Positions along Drain Outlet

81
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

From figure 6.3, the following trends were observed:


• As the position of the barricade progresses further from the stope face, the rate
of discharge decreases. It can be intuitively explained by saying that as the
barricade gets further away from the stope, the flow path increases and the
hydraulic gradient decreases. This results in the reduction in velocity and flow
discharge. The barricades which are closer to the stope face will drain more
quickly; with those which are further away draining more slowly, but over a
longer period of time
• The horizontal segments are for rest periods where there is no increase in
hydraulic fill. In fact, a very slight decrease in discharge rate occurs during the
“rest periods.” The head of the decant water drops as it percolates through and
out of the fill mass. During filling, the discharge from the drain follows a linear
trend. This sequence is repeated until the stope is completely filled and no more
hydraulic fill is placed in the stope (at approximately 80 minutes). The slope of
the line may be correlated to the density of the hydraulic fill slurry being placed.
A higher slurry density implies that less water enters the stope, (and if all other
parameters remain constant), the height of water will also be less. Hence
drainage rate and gradient will also be less.

Figures 6.4 and 6.5 illustrates a comparison between results obtained from the
laboratory and FLAC3D models for drain arrangement 1, with the barricade positioned
at 1 cm and 5 cm respectively.

In Figures 6.4 and 6.5, the experimental and numerical models compare reasonably
well. In both cases, similar trends were observed:
• Experimental results possess higher discharge values to their corresponding
numerical model. This may be a result of the initial excess water in the system
from preparation of the barricades. Or it may be that the resolution of the
FLAC3D grid is too coarse, especially at the discharge point, where the density
of flow lines increase significantly.

82
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

0.16
Due to preparation
0.14 of barricade

0.12

0.10
Discharge (g/s)

0.08

0.06

0.04

Flac 3D
0.02
Laboratory

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 6.4– Comparison of FLAC3D and Laboratory Model for Barricade


Located 1 cm from Stope Face

0.25

Due to preparation of FLAC 3D


Barricade
Laboratory
0.20
Discharge (g/s)

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 6.5– Comparison of FLAC3D and Laboratory Model for Barricade


Located 5 cm from Stope Face

83
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

• During the first 20 minutes of the experiment, the discharge values fluctuated
quite considerably. Also, the initial discharge readings in both models were
large. This is considered to be a result of the preparation of the barricades for the
experiment. Barricades were designed as ‘free-draining’; thus it was necessary
to ensure complete saturation of the barricades before testing commenced.
(Unless saturated, the barricades were not free-draining and provided resistance
to flow.)
• Disregarding the initial 5 minutes of readings, the peak discharge in the
experiment and numerical models occurs at approximately 80 minutes. This is
expected as all pouring has just been completed at this stage, generating the
largest head pressures and thus hydraulic gradient within the model.

Figure 6.6 shows long term results obtained from experimental testing for a barricade
located 1 cm from the stope face. This is simply an extension of the plot given in Figure
6.4.

The general trend in drainage over a 5-hour duration is shown in Figure 6.6. The
discharge increases rapidly until it reaches its peak at approximately 80 minutes (at the
end of filling). From here the discharge initially decreases steeply, then steadies out,
slightly decreasing as time progresses. The steep decline is considered representative of
the time that is taken for the decant water to reach the surface of the placed fill. The
consistent flow and then slowly declining discharge rate is thought to be associated with
the percolation of the water through the backfill mass. Over the longer periods of time,
discharge is expected to decrease until such time as most of the free water has drained
from the stope. It is expected to slow considerably towards the end of drainage, as the
head pressure drops and capillary suction starts to resist the outflow of water. This
process results with the discharge versus time curve having roughly the same
appearance as the consolidation curve for clays (or other porous materials). However
for all practical purposes, when the discharge rate falls under a certain limit it would be
considered to have zero flow. It is recommended that an investigation into a longer
period be undertaken to investigate this.

84
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

0.16

0.14

0.12

0.10
Outflow (g/s)

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Time (min)

Figure 6. 6– Long-term Readings for Experimental Discharge for a Barricade Located 1 cm from
Stope Face

6.2.2 Drain Arrangement 2


Drain arrangement 2 consisted of two 4 cm x 4 cm drains placed at the centre of the
stope face at separate levels within the stope, as illustrated in figure 6.7.

Drain 2

60 cm

45 cm

Drain 1
15 cm
15 cm

Figure 6. 7– Drain Arrangement 2

85
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

Figures 6.8 and figure 6.9 illustrate the discharge of water from drains one and two
respectively for various barricade positions within the drain outlet.

0.20
FLAC: 1cm
Expt: 1cm
0.18
FLAC: 5cm
Expt: 5cm
0.16

0.14
Drain 1 draining Drain 1 & 2 draining

0.12
discharge (g/s)

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
time (min)

Figure 6.8– Discharge from Drain 1 of Drain Arrangement 2

1.2

FLAC 1cm
Exp 1cm
Very high discharge values FLAC 5cm
1.0
were reocorded for both Exp 5cm
numerical models. Peak
values occurred at:
1 cm:17.3 g /s
0.8 5 cm: 18.4 g/s
Discharge (g/s)

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
time (min)

Figure 6.9– Discharge from Drain 2 of Drain Arrangement 2

Similar trends in discharge from drain 1 of drain arrangement 2 for both experimental
and numerical models were observed and are shown in figure 6.8.

86
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

• Figure 6.8 shows a stepped increase in discharge correlating to the pour and rest
periods of the slurry. This is representative in all four plots.
• The initial discharge reading for both experimental plots is the greatest during
the first five minutes of testing. Again, attributable to the preparation of the
barricades. (I.e. ensuring barricades were completely saturated before testing).
• Disregarding the initial 5 minutes of readings, peak discharge occurred between
75 – 80 minutes. This corresponds to the highest hydraulic gradient within the
stope that occurs at the completion of filling.
• Experimental results of discharge were consistently higher than the numerical
model’s results. This was probably due to the initial water in the system.
• As the barricade is moved closer to the stope face, the discharge rate increases
and vice versa.
• As observed in figure 6.8, once drain 2 starts draining, a slight drop in discharge
from drain one is observed.

Figure 6.9 shows the variation of discharge with time for the numerical and
experimental models from drain 2 of drain arrangement 2. As seen in the figure, the
experimental and numerical models are not consistent. The experimental model relies
on a consistent pour of slurry over the duration of 5 minutes, this is not possible and as
a result, variation in discharge occurred. The numerical programme was developed so
that once the slurry reached drain 2, the decant water would ‘freely’ flow through the
barricade. However, when testing, the decant water did not ‘freely’ flow through the
barricade due to the tailings still being in suspension.

Although, the models in figure 6.9 did not correlate well with each other, there were
various trends present in both models.
• Discharge remained at zero, until the slurry height reached the drain, whereby a
large discharge in water was measured.
• After the large outflow of decant water from the modelled stope, a sharp decline in
discharge was recorded for both experimental and numerical models.

From the results of figures 6.8 and 6.9, it is possible to infer that the hydraulic
conductivity of the tailings is not equivalent in the horizontal and vertical directions.

87
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

Thus, our initial assumption of the fill being isotropic may not be reasonable. However,
experimental observations suggested that more water was draining from the barricade
closest to the bottom and very little from the higher barricade (with the exception of the
large outflow of decant water once the fill reaches the upper drains.) This observation is
in contrast to Ouellet and Servant (1998) who suggested horizontal conductivity to be
higher than the vertical one. Ouellet et al. observations appear to be a very quizzical and
questionable result. Head pressures, hydraulic conductivity gradients and the above
experimental data all seem to concur, that the most drainage occurs through the base of
the stope.

6.2.3 Drain Arrangement 3


Drain arrangement 3 comprised of four single 16 cm2 drains positioned as shown in
figure 6.10.

Drain 5

Drain 6

60cm
45cm
Drain 3

Drain 4

Figure 6. 10- Drain Arrangement 3

Figures 6.11 and figure 6.12 illustrate the results obtained from numerical and
laboratory testing for this arrangement. The barricade is positioned 1 cm from the face
of the stope wall in each of the drains.

88
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

0.14
FLAC 3D
Expt
2 per. Mov. Avg. (Expt)
0.12

0.10
Discharge (g/s)

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
time (min)

Figure 6. 11- Comparison of FLAC and Experimental Model Discharge for Drains 3 and 4
(per drain) of Drainage Arrangement 3

1.0

FLAC 3D
0.9 Expt

0.8

0.7

0.6
discharge (g/s)

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0
50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95
time (min)

Figure 6. 12- Comparison of FLAC and Experimental Model Discharge for Drains 5 and 6
(per drain) of Drainage Arrangement 3

89
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

Figure 6.11 illustrates results for discharge per drain for drains 3 and 4. As seen in the
figure, the discharge from both experimental and numerical models follows similar
trends. Initially discharge follows a stepped increase till its peak at approximately 80
minutes. Discharge then steadily decreases, similar to drain arrangements 1 and 2 for
the base drain (drain 1). The experimental results consistently produced greater
discharges than its corresponding numerical model. This variation between points could
be attributable to the lower permeability value used for the fill. The numerical model
cannot take into account variations in the flow path of water possibly taken in the
experimental results. If the model produced a preferred flow path, through piping, a
progressive caving mechanism (which allows an un-interrupted/ or significantly
reduced resistance to flow), then drainage would occur significantly more quickly in the
experimental model stope than the numerical model.

Figure 6.12 shows a comparison of discharge per drain from drains 5 and 6. For both
models, the discharge is zero until the slurry height reaches drains 5 and 6. At this
stage, the decant water at the top of the slurry is allowed to drain freely from the stope
as per drain arrangement 2. This is represented by the sharp increase at 60 minutes in
figure 6.12. The discrepancies between the experimental and FLAC models for drains
5 and 6 from drain arrangement 3 are similar to those discussed from drain 2 in drain
arrangement 2.

Again, the numerical model doesn’t have the ability to pour the fill in over a continuous
period of time; rather it places it in instantaneous lifts of slurry. This effectively negates
the time that the decant water above the fill is able to drain straight through the
barricade, without having to percolate through fill (as it always must be in the
numerical model). This is considered to be the reason for the significant spike in the
experimental versus modelled discharge in Figure 6.12. It may also partially explain
some of the significant flow observed in the “set-up” of previous barricade
arrangements. (i.e. when the slurry was placed –central to the model stope, it is likely
that the solids were deposited closer to the central portion of the stope and the excess
water, spread across the remainder of the floor area. When the drain barricade was
reached, free flow of water through the barricade would have occurred, until such time
as the slurry sediment, flowed up against and covered the face of the barricade wall.)

90
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

6.2.4 Summary of Laboratory and FLAC3D Model Comparison


The numerical and experimental models helped to identify a number of key factors
affecting discharge:
• Darcy’s (1892) Law holds true for drainage through hydraulically placed
backfills. The rate of discharge was found to be a function of hydraulic gradient.
• The number of drain outlets influences discharge rate from a stope. The greater
the number of drain outlets along the stope face, the smaller the discharge per
drain. In general, the bottom drains cater for most of the drainage that occurs
within the stope, with the exception of when the fill initially reaches the higher
drains, and decant water is allowed to freely flow out.)
• As the barricade is moved closer to the stope face, the rate of discharge
increases.
• The numerical program FLAC3D provides a valuable tool for studying the
drainage through hydraulic fills and barricades. From the comparison of the
FLAC3D and laboratory models, similar trends in discharge were observed.
• Refinement of the developed FLAC3D model is required to more accurately
model the rate of discharge from the model (and real stopes).
• A long term investigation of the rate and quantity of discharge from a stope
should be conducted to model and verify long term characteristics and effects of
drainage through mine fill and barricades.

6.3 Additional Results from FLAC3D


The numerical model developed in FLAC3D enabled us to observe predicted pore
pressures within the hydraulic fill, flow vectors within the stope and general trends in
discharge as the barricade distance is varied along the drain outlet.

6.3.1 Effect of Barricade distance on Discharge


Figure 6.13 demonstrates the variation in total discharge for the initial 90 minutes
draining from drain 1 of drain arrangement one for various barricade distances.

91
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

250

200
Quantity of flow (g)

150

100

50

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Barriacde Distance from Stope face (cm)

Figure 6. 13– Total Discharge versus Barricade Distance from Stope Face from FLAC3D Modelling

For the four different barricade distances studied using FLAC3D, it is clear that the total
discharge during the first 90 minutes decreases with increasing barricade distance
(Figure 6.13). Nonetheless, the same amount of water is placed into the stope in each
of the four cases. Therefore, the additional water that will be drained plus the residual
water will be increasing with increasing barricade distance.

6.3.2 Flow Vectors within the Modelled Stope


The final flow pattern for the various drain arrangements shows a similar pattern in all
simulations. Figure 6.14 represents the flow pattern from drain arrangement 1. The
specific discharge vectors for fluid flow are plotted at zone centroids.

The numerical value of seepage length is defined as the distance on the downstream
face, between the tail water elevation and the point where the magnitude of the flow
vector disappears. As seepage increases within the stope, the arrows get larger and
bolder. From figure 6.14, it is obvious that seepage is critical along the drain outlet.
The arrows represent steady state flow vectors within the stope.

92
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

Figure 6.14– Steady State Flow Vectors

6.3.3 Pore Pressures within Stope

As suggested by earlier models, the pore pressure development within the stope
increases as more hydraulic fill is added to the stope. The largest pore pressures within
a filled stope occur at the bottom-of the stope, furtherest from the barricade. Some of
the factors affecting pore pressure development within the stope included the location
of drain outlets and the positioning of barricades within the drain outlets. The number
of drains has a significant effect on pore pressure if additional barricades are at the
bottom of the slope; however, little variation in pore pressure was observed when an
additional drain was placed on the upper level. Secondly, the pore pressure is affected
by varying the position of the barricade within the drain outlet. As the drain is placed
further away from the stope face, the pore pressure increases.

6.3.4 Summary of Additional Results


• The rate of discharge of water through a barricade decreases with increasing
distance from the stope face.
• Flow vectors show the profile and flow of water through the stope. Drainage
occurs more freely along the shortest flow path, and thus most water drains from
the face of the stope closest to the barricades.

93
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

• Pore pressure build up, in stopes, is dictated by the amount and location of
drainage provided on the base of the stopes.
o Additional barricades on higher levels alleviate very little excess pore
pressure build up in the body of the stope. A local decrease in pore
pressure around the barricade is observed.
o Distance back to the barricade from the face is the most critical
parameter in pore pressure build up. An increase in the setback distance
significantly increases the pore pressure in the stope, (Note: this has
MAJOR operational implications). It increases the likelyhood of
liquefaction of the backfill – through reduced effective stresses in the
soil. Liquefaction may occur through the transference of any
instantaneous load (seismic event or blasting) to the pore water. In
addition to this, the increased pore pressure has implications to the
design of the barricade walls themselves. With typical design strengths
of approximately 0.4 – 0.6 MPa, a significant build up of pore pressure
may induce failure, which would lead to an inrush of hundreds of
thousands of tonnes of liquefied fill. Which constitutes a significant and
life threatening safety hazard.

94
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

CHAPTER 7

SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS

7.1 Summary
The focus of this research was to study the fundamental aspects of permeability and
drainage characteristics in hydraulically minefilled stopes. This was achieved by
undertaking numerical and laboratory modelling of drainage through a hydraulic filled
stope of specific geometry.

Initially a series of laboratory tests including specific gravity, constant and falling head
permeability tests, grain size distributions, void ratio and relative density tests were
conducted to determine the geotechnical parameters of several different hydraulic fills.

A laboratory scaled model was constructed to simulate the drainage through hydraulic
fill, of a similar stope located at Mount Isa Mines in North West Queensland. An
investigation into the effects of barricade distance along the drain outlet on discharge,
and the effect on discharge of various drain arrangements typical for a stope, were
undertaken.

Using the finite difference program FLAC3D, a 3-dimensional modelling tool which
allows the prediction of drainage and pore pressure development throughout the filling
and draining of a three dimensional hydraulic filled stope was developed. The purpose
of this model was to compare the experimental and numerical simulations, and to
demonstrate the use of FLAC3D as a potential tool for studying drainage through
hydraulic fills and barricades.

To understand the drainage characteristics of the hydraulic fill, several formulae in


literature (Hazen, 1930; Lambe, 1952; Karol, 1965; and Das, 1985), relating the
permeability of soils to their grain size characteristics and other classification data such
as void ratios, were analysed.

Finally, an investigation into the measurement of relative density and void ratio in
hydraulic fill was conducted.

95
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

7.2 Conclusions
The research contained within this report has strengthened the understanding of
drainage through hydraulic filled stopes.

7.2.1 Empirical Correlations


The author believes that Hazen’s equation provides the best estimation of permeability
through hydraulic fill. Das, Karol and Lamb’s relationships, all based on void ratio, are
highly dependent on the source of the material and provided relatively poor correlations
to permeability.

7.2.2 Relative Density of Hydraulic Fills


An investigation into the relative density of various hydraulic fills was undertaken using
in-situ void ratios obtained from laboratory testing. The relative densities of the
hydraulic fills varied within the range of 50% to 80% indicating the varying potential
for liquefaction for the various hydraulic fills. As relative density increases, liquefaction
potential decreases.

It is interesting to note that the hydraulic fill samples prepared by sedimenting the slurry
at typical water contents in the range of 25% - 35%, settled under their self weight to
produce such dense material of 50% - 80% relative density. In the mines, hydraulic
fills are placed at slightly higher water content of 30 – 40%, and thus the relative
density may be slightly different. It will be useful to study the effects of slurry water
content on the in-situ relative density.

7.2.3 The Effect of Wet Placement on Maximum Void Ratio


Currently the Australian Standards AS1289.5.5.1 – 1998, recommends determining the
maximum void ratio of a cohesionless material using loose pouring of a dry soil. An
investigation into the maximum void ratio of a saturated soil was undertaken to
determine whether wet placement of the fill in the form of dilute slurry, can give a
larger maximum void ratio. Results indicate that a higher void ratio is achievable by
placing the fill as thin slurry and careful consideration is required into the calculation of
the ‘true’ maximum void ratio.

96
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

7.2.4 Numerical and Laboratory Modelling of Drainage


The numerical program developed using FLAC3D provides a valuable tool for studying
the drainage through hydraulic fills and barricades. From the comparison of the
FLAC3D and laboratory models, similar trends in discharge were observed. The
conclusions that have been drawn from the modelling results are:
• The rate of discharge is a function of hydraulic gradient, agreeing with Darcy’s
Law (1856).
• The number of drain outlets influences discharge rate from a stope. The greater
the number of drain outlets along the stope face, the smaller the discharge per
drain. In general, the bottom drains cater for most of the drainage that occurs
within the stope, with the exception of when the fill initially reaches the higher
drains, and decant water is allowed to freely flow out.
• The rate of discharge of water through a barricade decreases with increasing
distance from the stope face.
• Flow vectors show the profile and flow of water through the stope. Drainage
occurs more freely along the shortest flow path, and thus most water drains from
the face of the stope closest to the barricades.
• Pore pressure build up in stopes is dictated by the amount and location of
drainage provided on the base of the stopes.
o Additional barricades on higher levels alleviates very little excess pore
pressure build up in the body of the stope. A local decrease in pore
pressure around the barricade is observed.
o Distance back to the barricade from the face is the most critical
parameter in pore pressure build up. An increase in the setback distance
significantly increases the pore pressure in the stope. This has major
operation implications. It increases the likely hood of liquefaction of the
minefill, through reduced effective stresses in the soil.

7.3 Recommendations for Future Work


Reflection on the outcomes of this work leads to the following recommendations for
further studies:

97
Chapter 7 Summary and Conclusions

• The numerical and laboratory model were developed considering only one
type of hydraulic fill, therefore further testing should be completed with a
number of hydraulic fills to confirm results.
• Refinement of the developed FLAC3D model is required to more accurately
model the rate of discharge from the model (and also real stopes). Also, the
model assumed an isotropic and homogeneous fill with an incompressible soil
skeleton. Further research is required to validate these assumptions.
• A long-term investigation of the rate and quantity of discharge from a stope
should be conducted both numerically and experimentally to model and verify
long term characteristics and effects of drainage through mine fill and
barricades.
• All model testing was completed for a scaled stope. It would be extremely
beneficial if actual field data were available and compared with existing
results.
• Further investigation is required into a more realistic permeability coefficient
during the sedimentation process. The value used in this study was from the
sedimented cake and thus underestimated the discharge.
• Further investigations into the effect of slurry water content on the maximum
void ratio by wet placement and in-situ relative density is also recommended.

98
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2 http://www.mininglife.com/Miner/Backfill/mine_backfill

102
APPENDIX A – Laboratory Drainage Model Results

Table A.1 – Summary of Results

Drain Arrangement 1 Drain Arrangement 2 Drain Arrangement 3


Time Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2
Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade
(min)
1 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 5 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back
from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope
5 0.1417 0.1950 0.0617 0.0000 0.1733 0.0000 0.0673 0.0673 0.0000 0.0000
10 0.0367 0.0217 0.0300 0.0000 0.0283 0.0000 0.0557 0.0557 0.0000 0.0000
15 0.0517 0.0567 0.0483 0.0000 0.0433 0.0000 0.0723 0.0723 0.0000 0.0000
20 0.0550 0.0450 0.0483 0.0000 0.0450 0.0000 0.0673 0.0673 0.0000 0.0000
25 0.0683 0.0600 0.0600 0.0000 0.0567 0.0000 0.1040 0.1040 0.0000 0.0000
30 0.0733 0.0600 0.0600 0.0000 0.0517 0.0000 0.0923 0.0923 0.0000 0.0000
35 0.0900 0.0700 0.0800 0.0000 0.0600 0.0000 0.1107 0.1107 0.0000 0.0000
40 0.0933 0.0650 0.0817 0.0000 0.0567 0.0000 0.0973 0.0973 0.0000 0.0000
45 0.1083 0.0683 0.0900 0.0000 0.0683 0.0000 0.1157 0.1157 0.0000 0.0000
50 0.1133 0.0733 0.0967 0.0000 0.0700 0.0000 0.1073 0.1073 0.0000 0.0000
55 0.1183 0.0800 0.1017 0.1367 0.0767 0.1033 0.1207 0.1207 0.0000 0.0000
60 0.1183 0.0850 0.1017 0.4300 0.0733 0.3050 0.1007 0.1007 0.0000 0.0000
65 0.1267 0.0900 0.1083 0.4300 0.0783 1.0300 0.1240 0.1240 0.9597 0.9597
70 0.1300 0.0933 0.1117 0.0550 0.0767 0.1183 0.1057 0.1057 0.0513 0.0513
75 0.1383 0.0983 0.1183 0.0567 0.1100 0.2233 0.1096 0.1096 0.0333 0.0333
80 0.1350 0.0983 0.1183 0.0433 0.0771 0.0550 0.1101 0.1101 0.0396 0.0396
85 0.1233 0.0950 0.1083 0.0333 0.0750 0.0433 0.1007 0.1007 0.0130 0.0130
90 0.1217 0.0900 0.1017 0.0300 0.0717 0.0383 0.0973 0.0973 0.0363 0.0363

103
Table A.2 – Drain Arrangement 1

Barricade at 1 cm Barricade at 5cm


Time
Outflow (g/sec) Average Outflow (g/sec) Average
(min)
Outflow Outflow
Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 1 Trial 2
5 0.023 0.260 0.142 0.303 0.087 0.195
10 0.043 0.030 0.037 0.033 0.010 0.022
15 0.063 0.040 0.052 0.057 0.057 0.057
20 0.057 0.053 0.055 0.053 0.037 0.045
25 0.073 0.063 0.068 0.070 0.050 0.060
30 0.077 0.070 0.073 0.067 0.053 0.060
35 0.093 0.087 0.090 0.087 0.053 0.070
40 0.097 0.090 0.093 0.073 0.057 0.065
45 0.110 0.107 0.108 0.077 0.060 0.068
50 0.113 0.113 0.113 0.083 0.063 0.073
55 0.120 0.117 0.118 0.093 0.067 0.080
60 0.117 0.120 0.118 0.093 0.077 0.085
65 0.127 0.127 0.127 0.100 0.080 0.090
70 0.133 0.127 0.130 0.103 0.083 0.093
75 0.143 0.133 0.138 0.110 0.087 0.098
80 0.137 0.133 0.135 0.110 0.087 0.098
85 0.123 0.123 0.123 0.107 0.083 0.095
90 0.123 0.120 0.122 0.100 0.080 0.090

104
Table A.3 – Drain Arrangement 2 : Barricade at 1 cm from Stope Face

Average Average
Time Outflow at Drain 1 (g/s) Outflow at Drain 2 (g/s)
Outflow at Outflow at
(min)
Trial 1 Trial 2 Drain 1 Trial 1 Trial 2 Drain 2
5 0.010 0.200 0.105 - - -
10 0.033 0.027 0.030 - - -
15 0.047 0.047 0.047 - - -
20 0.060 0.053 0.057 - - -
25 0.073 0.073 0.073 - - -
30 0.070 0.070 0.070 - - -
35 0.090 0.083 0.087 - - -
40 0.093 0.087 0.090 - - -
45 0.100 0.090 0.095 - - -
50 0.110 0.100 0.105 - - -
55 0.113 0.107 0.110 0.137 - 0.137
60 0.113 0.107 0.110 0.420 0.217 0.318
65 0.120 0.120 0.120 0.447 0.197 0.322
70 0.123 0.117 0.120 0.040 0.037 0.038
75 0.130 0.120 0.125 0.040 0.037 0.038
80 0.130 0.120 0.125 0.030 0.033 0.032
85 0.117 0.110 0.113 0.023 0.027 0.025
90 0.113 0.107 0.110 0.020 0.023 0.022

105
Table A.4 – Drain Arrangement 2: Barricade at 5 cm from Stope Face

Average Average
Outflow at 1 (g/s) Outflow at 2 (g/s)
Time (min) Outflow at Outflow at
Trial 1 Trial 2 Drain 1 Trial 1 Trial 2 Drain 2
5 0.257 0.090 0.173 - - -
10 0.037 0.020 0.028 - - -
15 0.060 0.027 0.043 - - -
20 0.063 0.027 0.045 - - -
25 0.077 0.037 0.057 - - -
30 0.070 0.033 0.052 - - -
35 0.080 0.040 0.060 - - -
40 0.077 0.037 0.057 - - -
45 0.090 0.047 0.068 - - -
50 0.097 0.043 0.070 - - -
55 0.103 0.050 0.077 0.103 - 0.103
60 0.100 0.047 0.073 0.293 0.317 0.305
65 0.107 0.050 0.078 1.130 0.930 1.030
70 0.103 0.050 0.077 0.183 0.053 0.118
75 0.110 0.052 0.081 0.223 0.050 0.137
80 0.100 0.054 0.077 0.077 0.033 0.055
85 0.100 0.050 0.075 0.053 0.033 0.043
90 0.097 0.047 0.072 0.047 0.030 0.038

106
Table A.5 – Drain Arrangement 3: Barricade at 1 cm from Stope Face

Time Outflow (g/s)


(min)
Drain 3 Drain 4 Drain 5 Drain 6
5 0.067 0.067 - -
10 0.056 0.056 - -
15 0.072 0.072 - -
20 0.067 0.067 - -
25 0.104 0.104 - -
30 0.092 0.092 - -
35 0.111 0.111 - -
40 0.097 0.097 - -
45 0.116 0.116 - -
50 0.107 0.107 - -
55 0.121 0.121 - -
60 0.101 0.101 - -
65 0.124 0.124 0.960 0.960
70 0.106 0.106 0.051 0.051
75 0.110 0.110 0.033 0.033
80 0.110 0.110 0.040 0.040
85 0.101 0.101 0.013 0.013
90 0.097 0.097 0.036 0.036

107
APPENDIX B – FLAC Drainage Model Results

OUTFLOW (g/s)
Drain Arrangement 1 Drain Arrangement 2 Drain Arrangement 3
Time Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2
(min) Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade
1 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 5 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back
from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope
1 0.0007 0.0007 0.0007 0.0000 0.0007 0.0000 0.0007 0.0007 0.0000 0.0000
2 0.0034 0.0031 0.0034 0.0000 0.0031 0.0000 0.0033 0.0033 0.0000 0.0000
3 0.0068 0.0054 0.0068 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0061 0.0061 0.0000 0.0000
4 0.0099 0.0039 0.0099 0.0000 0.0039 0.0000 0.0083 0.0083 0.0000 0.0000
5 0.0130 0.0054 0.0130 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0106 0.0106 0.0000 0.0000
6 0.0130 0.0054 0.0130 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0105 0.0105 0.0000 0.0000
7 0.0130 0.0054 0.0130 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0105 0.0105 0.0000 0.0000
8 0.0130 0.0054 0.0130 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0105 0.0105 0.0000 0.0000
9 0.0130 0.0054 0.0130 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0105 0.0105 0.0000 0.0000
10 0.0130 0.0054 0.0130 0.0000 0.0054 0.0000 0.0105 0.0105 0.0000 0.0000
11 0.0154 0.0067 0.0154 0.0000 0.0067 0.0000 0.0120 0.0120 0.0000 0.0000
12 0.0183 0.0080 0.0183 0.0000 0.0080 0.0000 0.0140 0.0140 0.0000 0.0000
13 0.0206 0.0093 0.0206 0.0000 0.0093 0.0000 0.0154 0.0154 0.0000 0.0000
14 0.0233 0.0106 0.0233 0.0000 0.0106 0.0000 0.0172 0.0172 0.0000 0.0000
15 0.0259 0.0119 0.0259 0.0000 0.0119 0.0000 0.0189 0.0189 0.0000 0.0000
16 0.0259 0.0119 0.0259 0.0000 0.0119 0.0000 0.0189 0.0189 0.0000 0.0000
17 0.0259 0.0119 0.0259 0.0000 0.0119 0.0000 0.0189 0.0189 0.0000 0.0000
18 0.0259 0.0119 0.0259 0.0000 0.0119 0.0000 0.0189 0.0189 0.0000 0.0000
19 0.0258 0.0119 0.0258 0.0000 0.0119 0.0000 0.0189 0.0189 0.0000 0.0000
20 0.0258 0.0119 0.0258 0.0000 0.0119 0.0000 0.0189 0.0189 0.0000 0.0000
21 0.0277 0.0131 0.0277 0.0000 0.0131 0.0000 0.0199 0.0199 0.0000 0.0000
22 0.0301 0.0143 0.0301 0.0000 0.0143 0.0000 0.0214 0.0214 0.0000 0.0000
23 0.0317 0.0154 0.0317 0.0000 0.0154 0.0000 0.0222 0.0222 0.0000 0.0000
24 0.0338 0.0166 0.0338 0.0000 0.0166 0.0000 0.0235 0.0235 0.0000 0.0000
25 0.0359 0.0178 0.0359 0.0000 0.0178
108 0.0000 0.0248 0.0248 0.0000 0.0000
Drain Arrangement 1 Drain Arrangement 2 Drain Arrangement 3
Time Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2
Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade
(min)
1 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 5 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back
from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope
29 0.0359 0.0178 0.0358 0.0000 0.0178 0.0000 0.0247 0.0247 0.0000 0.0000
30 0.0358 0.0178 0.0358 0.0000 0.0178 0.0000 0.0247 0.0247 0.0000 0.0000
31 0.0371 0.0188 0.0371 0.0000 0.0188 0.0000 0.0253 0.0253 0.0000 0.0000
32 0.0390 0.0199 0.0390 0.0000 0.0199 0.0000 0.0264 0.0264 0.0000 0.0000
33 0.0402 0.0208 0.0402 0.0000 0.0208 0.0000 0.0269 0.0269 0.0000 0.0000
34 0.0419 0.0219 0.0419 0.0000 0.0219 0.0000 0.0279 0.0279 0.0000 0.0000
35 0.0436 0.0229 0.0436 0.0000 0.0229 0.0000 0.0289 0.0289 0.0000 0.0000
36 0.0436 0.0229 0.0436 0.0000 0.0229 0.0000 0.0289 0.0289 0.0000 0.0000
37 0.0436 0.0229 0.0436 0.0000 0.0229 0.0000 0.0289 0.0289 0.0000 0.0000
38 0.0436 0.0229 0.0436 0.0000 0.0229 0.0000 0.0289 0.0289 0.0000 0.0000
39 0.0436 0.0229 0.0436 0.0000 0.0229 0.0000 0.0289 0.0289 0.0000 0.0000
40 0.0436 0.0229 0.0436 0.0000 0.0229 0.0000 0.0288 0.0288 0.0000 0.0000
41 0.0445 0.0238 0.0445 0.0000 0.0237 0.0000 0.0292 0.0292 0.0000 0.0000
42 0.0461 0.0248 0.0461 0.0000 0.0248 0.0000 0.0300 0.0300 0.0000 0.0000
43 0.0469 0.0256 0.0469 0.0000 0.0256 0.0000 0.0303 0.0303 0.0000 0.0000
44 0.0483 0.0265 0.0483 0.0000 0.0265 0.0000 0.0311 0.0311 0.0000 0.0000
45 0.0498 0.0275 0.0498 0.0000 0.0275 0.0000 0.0319 0.0319 0.0000 0.0000
46 0.0498 0.0275 0.0498 0.0000 0.0275 0.0000 0.0319 0.0319 0.0000 0.0000
47 0.0497 0.0275 0.0497 0.0000 0.0275 0.0000 0.0319 0.0319 0.0000 0.0000
48 0.0497 0.0275 0.0497 0.0000 0.0275 0.0000 0.0319 0.0319 0.0000 0.0000
49 0.0497 0.0275 0.0497 0.0000 0.0275 0.0000 0.0319 0.0319 0.0000 0.0000
50 0.0497 0.0275 0.0497 0.0000 0.0275 0.0000 0.0319 0.0319 0.0000 0.0000
51 0.0503 0.0282 0.0503 0.0000 0.0282 0.0000 0.0320 0.0320 0.0000 0.0000
52 0.0517 0.0291 0.0517 0.0000 0.0291 0.0000 0.0328 0.0328 0.0000 0.0000
53 0.0522 0.0298 0.0522 0.0000 0.0298 0.0000 0.0329 0.0329 0.0000 0.0000
54 0.0535 0.0307 0.0535 0.0000 0.0307 0.0000 0.0336 0.0336 0.0000 0.0000
55 0.0547 0.0316 0.0547 0.0000 0.0316 0.0000 0.0342 0.0342 0.0000 0.0000
56 0.0547 0.0316 0.0547 0.0000 0.0316 0.0000 0.0342 0.0342 0.0000 0.0000
57 0.0547 0.0316 0.0547 0.0000 0.0316 0.0000 0.0342 0.0342 0.0000 0.0000
58 0.0547 0.0316 0.0547 0.0000 0.0316 0.0000 0.0342 0.0342 0.0000 0.0000

109
Drain Arrangement 1 Drain Arrangement 2 Drain Arrangement 3
Time Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2 Drain 1 Drain 2
Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade Barricade
(min)
1 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 5 cm back 5 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back 1 cm back
from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope from stope
60 0.0547 0.0315 0.0547 0.0000 0.0315 0.0000 0.0342 0.0342 0.0000 0.0000
61 0.0551 0.0321 0.0551 0.0000 0.0321 0.0000 0.0343 0.0343 0.0000 0.0000
62 0.0563 0.0330 0.0563 0.0000 0.0330 0.0000 0.0349 0.0349 0.0000 0.0000
63 0.0567 0.0336 0.0566 17.3367 0.0336 18.3833 0.0349 0.0349 0.0056 0.0056
64 0.0578 0.0344 0.0524 0.5360 0.0311 0.5591 0.0354 0.0354 0.0105 0.0105
65 0.0588 0.0352 0.0533 0.5402 0.0318 0.5616 0.0358 0.0358 0.0226 0.0226
66 0.0588 0.0352 0.0532 0.0001 0.0317 0.0000 0.0358 0.0358 0.0225 0.0225
67 0.0588 0.0352 0.0532 0.0001 0.0317 0.0001 0.0358 0.0358 0.0224 0.0224
68 0.0588 0.0352 0.0532 0.0002 0.0317 0.0002 0.0358 0.0358 0.0223 0.0223
69 0.0588 0.0352 0.0532 0.0004 0.0317 0.0004 0.0358 0.0358 0.0221 0.0221
70 0.0588 0.0352 0.0532 0.0006 0.0317 0.0006 0.0357 0.0357 0.0220 0.0220
71 0.0591 0.0357 0.0536 0.0014 0.0322 0.0012 0.0355 0.0355 0.0127 0.0127
72 0.0601 0.0365 0.0546 0.0039 0.0330 0.0024 0.0358 0.0358 0.0131 0.0131
73 0.0604 0.0370 0.0548 0.0046 0.0335 0.0032 0.0356 0.0356 0.0116 0.0116
74 0.0613 0.0376 0.0556 0.0067 0.0342 0.0043 0.0358 0.0358 0.0125 0.0125
75 0.0608 0.0374 0.0564 0.0086 0.0349 0.0054 0.0354 0.0354 0.0107 0.0107
76 0.0608 0.0374 0.0564 0.0086 0.0349 0.0054 0.0354 0.0354 0.0107 0.0107
77 0.0608 0.0374 0.0564 0.0086 0.0349 0.0053 0.0354 0.0354 0.0107 0.0107
78 0.0608 0.0374 0.0564 0.0085 0.0349 0.0053 0.0354 0.0354 0.0106 0.0106
79 0.0608 0.0373 0.0564 0.0085 0.0349 0.0053 0.0354 0.0354 0.0106 0.0106
80 0.0608 0.0373 0.0564 0.0085 0.0349 0.0053 0.0353 0.0353 0.0106 0.0106
81 0.0595 0.0369 0.0565 0.0088 0.0352 0.0059 0.0346 0.0346 0.0076 0.0076
82 0.0589 0.0366 0.0571 0.0105 0.0359 0.0069 0.0342 0.0342 0.0063 0.0063
83 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0086 0.0356 0.0065 0.0336 0.0336 0.0039 0.0039
84 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0086 0.0356 0.0065 0.0336 0.0336 0.0039 0.0039
85 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0086 0.0356 0.0065 0.0336 0.0336 0.0039 0.0039
86 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0085 0.0356 0.0064 0.0336 0.0336 0.0039 0.0039
87 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0085 0.0356 0.0064 0.0336 0.0336 0.0039 0.0039
88 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0085 0.0356 0.0064 0.0336 0.0336 0.0039 0.0039
89 0.0576 0.0361 0.0564 0.0084 0.0356 0.0064 0.0336 0.0336 0.0038 0.0038
90 0.0575 0.0361 0.0564 0.0084 0.0356 0.0064 0.0336 0.0336 0.0038 0.0038

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APPENDIX C – Maximum Wet Placement Void Ratio

Area of Mwet fill + Height of


Sample Specific Mapparatus Mtray ρd min emax using wet
Mine Cylinder apparatus fill Mdry fill + tray Mdry fill 3
No. Gravity 2 (g) (g) g/cm placement
(cm ) (g) (cm)

Mine A 1 2.8 63.62 1322 4288 11.9 293 1336 1043 1.38 1.032
2 2.8 63.62 1323 4290 12 293 1345 1052 1.38 1.032
3 2.8 63.62 1323 4289 12.1 293 1344 1051 1.37 1.051
4 2.8 63.62 1323 4289 12 293 1336 1043 1.37 1.049
Mine F 1 4.345 63.62 1332 4298 7.7 323 1367 1044 2.13 1.039
2 4.345 63.62 1336 4302 7.9 263 1303 1040 2.07 1.100
3 4.345 63.62 1334 4300 7.8 263 1312 1049 2.11 1.055
4 4.345 63.62 1334 4300 7.9 266 1314 1048 2.09 1.084

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