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Improving short- and long-term stability of underground gypsum mine using partial and total backfill

Abstract : The stability of underground mines represents a key issue for active and abandoned mines. Over the last few years, several collapses of underground mines in France have affected existing buildings and infrastructures. Many factors are generally identified as the cause of failures: pillar ageing, fractures, and pillars' height to width ratio, etc. Among the treatment techniques available to prevent instability and reduce the deterioration of pillars, backfill is the most frequently used. A research programme, supported by the French Ministry of the Environment, was developed to study the operability of partial and total backfill using waste material in the Livry-Gargan gypsum mine (near Paris, France), where pillar height is 17 m. The paper focuses on: (1) the characterisation of the gypsum and fill material (laboratory and in situ tests), (2) the in situ measurements, involving 5 pillars equipped with 19 pressure cells, since 1999, (3) and numerical modelling of fractured pillars performed in order to improve understanding of the effects of backfill on the stability of room-and-pillar mines. The study clearly shows the operability and the advantages of partial and total backfill for short-term pillar stability. The induced horizontal pressure generated by backfill can reach 200 kPa. The use of numerical modelling also shows the effect of backfill on fractures and that backfill reduces indicatively the shear displacement and the opening of fractures. Numerical modelling helps in identifying the mechanisms of backfill and in a better understanding of the behaviour of backfilled mines.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 21, 2014 - 2:22:03 PM
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Marwan Al Heib, Christophe Didier, Farimah Masrouri. Improving short- and long-term stability of underground gypsum mine using partial and total backfill. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, Springer Verlag, 2010, 43 (4), pp.447-461. ⟨10.1007/s00603-009-0066-9⟩. ⟨ineris-00963262⟩

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