By James Smolen Ph. D.
Presents the practising petroleum engineer with diagnostic details to optimize restoration or plan workover operations. James Smolen is an across the world famous specialist in cased gap logging with greater than two decades of oil event. DLC: Oil good logging.
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Hydraulic flushing involves pumping fill material as slurry into the void. This method has several drawbacks. First, operators have very little control over the direction and compaction of the backfill that results. Furthermore, the particle size distribution of the fill material may vary with slurry velocity during deposition. Finally, this method requires transport of relatively large volumes of water into the mine, which may or may not be beneficial (Walker 1993). Pneumatic stowing cuts down on the volume of water introduced into the mine.
A common goal of reactive waste backfilling is to create a high-density fill material using paste technology. Pastes are mixtures of tailings and water, and are similar to slurry except that they do not segregate by particle size when at rest. For this to occur, a paste must contain approximately 15% fines (<20 μm) by weight. The fines retain moisture due to their high surface tension, preventing segregation (Cincilla et al. 1997). Portland cement can be added to the paste to increase strength and durability (Cincilla et al.
Weathered sulfidic waste rock can contain hydrated metal sulfate salts that are quickly soluble in water over a wide pH range, and if backstowed below the water table, may release acid metals or sulfate until the salts are dissolved. Depending on the nature and concentrations of such salts, and on the rate and abundance of groundwater flow, MIW from such weathered wastes can persist for tens of years (H. Posey, personal communication). At a minimum, these situations call on measurements of paste pH and rinsate or leachate analysis, such as meteoric water mobility procedure or synthetic precipitation leaching procedure.