Spilo Technical Textiles produces specific geotextiles utilized in the world of deep-level mining. The back fill concept plays a pivotal role in allowing mining to continue safely and efficiently at world-record depths. Mine tailings (extracted earlier from the mine for their mineral content) are pumped back underground into long woven fabric geosynthetic tubes specifically designed for the solids and fines contained in that mine’s tailings. The main function of the tubular back fill bag is to replace traditional wood packs in propping up the hanging wall (roof) thereby preventing catastrophic fall of rock during any subsequent mining or seismic activities.
This system has the added advantages of greatly reducing the need for large above-ground tailings dams as well as minimising the air volume that needs to be cooled and de-humidified at these depths. The back fill system has come to replace the age-old use of wood packs and steel as the primary mine support system in deep-level mines because it is more cost-efficient and less time-consuming to transport and install at the frontline mining areas. Also, when filled, it is essentially non-combustible as opposed to wood packs which become tinder-dry over time and are prone to spontaneous combustion. The designed-in longitudinal strength of the fabric ensures that it does not rupture on filling and the specific permeability allows dewatering of the tailings to occur in a controlled manner. The solids of the tailings remain in the bag, dry out and harden, creating a firm foundation for ongoing support of the hanging wall. Applications: Deep-level mining (depths > 2000m)