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ArticleName Backfill improvement in underground mines of NorNickel’s Polar Division: Current situation and prospects
DOI 10.17580/gzh.2022.01.14
ArticleAuthor Darbinyan T. P., Lozitsky V. A., Gogolev D. V., Balandin V. V.

NorNikel’s Polar Division, Norilsk, Russia:

T. P. Darbinyan, Director of the Mining Department
V. A. Lozitsky, Deputy Director of Mining Practices at the Mining Department
D. V. Gogolev, Head of the Operation Course at the Mining Department
V. V. Balandin, Director of Oktyabrsky Mine,


The Talnakh and Oktyabrsky deposits of rich copper and porphyry copper ore are currently being developed by NorNickel’s Polar Division mostly by mining systems with backfill. The backfill technology includes a sequence of labor-consuming process flows, namely, preparation of cemented backfill mixtures, transportation of backfill to placement sites, formation of an artificial fill mass, etc. The quality of the backfill play a decisive role in the safety of stoping. The main trend in the backfill technology improvement is the use of chemical additives manufactured by the world’s top producers, meant to improve rheological properties of cemented backfill mixtures during transportation, to reduce amount of water in the backfill mixture composition and to enhance the backfill strength, which can stimulate safety and performance of mining owing to shorter time of curing of the backfill at the preserved strength standards. The current backfill technology in use in underground mines of NorNickel’s Polar Division is discussed in detail. The main lines of the backfill improvement are described with regard to the advanced technologies and materials intended to modernize the process of the cemented backfill production, to enhance automation level and to ensure efficient implementation of the strategy targeted at sustainable development at escalated occupational health and safety and environmental soundness. At the end, this can allow NorNickel to take the top positions among the high-tech mining companies of the world.

The authors appreciate participation of A. A. Kisel, A. E. Lytneva and V. R. Burakova from the Geodynamic Safety Center of NorNickel’s Polar Division in this study.

keywords Cemented backfill, surface backfill plant, activation, additives, anhydrite, gypsum, air blast, backfill transportation, tailings

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