The Impact of Backfill on Mine Design Process in Deep Narrow Tabular Platinum Mines

Author(s) P. Kluge
Minefill 2011, International Conference on Mining, Cape Town, South Africa, Hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), March 21-25, 2011


The finding of this evaluation is that the use of a backfill support system is preferred to a conventional support system for the deep narrow reef platinum mine project investigated.

The objective of the study was to investigate and quantify the impact of the use of a backfill support system on the mine design of a specific platinum mining project. The evaluation was conducted using the Analytic Hierarchical Process (AHP), a mathematical pairwise method of comparison used with much success in military and economic decision making.

Nine mine design criteria were identified and weighted according to their relative importance and impact on operational success. An individual evaluation of each these nine criteria was then conducted, both in terms of findings in literature, where available, and in terms of the results of study work conducted for the particular mining project. The matrix algebra recommended for the AHP was then used to select the preferred alternative support system; backfill support or conventional support.
The evaluation criteria which were chosen to conduct the evaluation are:
  • Safety
  • Equipment & Infrastructure
  • Ventilation
  • Mine Water Flow
  • Environmental
  • Mine Design and Layout
  • Mine Plan and Sequence
  • OPEX
This evaluation has shown that, if the decision to utilise a backfill support system is incorporated into the early mine design and planning process, significant operational and design advantages can be obtained. The AHP comparison method has proven to be a solid method of comparison that should be considered for technical design decision making in the future.