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Melvin M. Mashingaidze
Melvin M. Mashingaidze
University of Namibia
University of Namibia


Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
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Impact of carbon dioxide on the main geotechnical quality criteria and preparation cost of cemented paste backfill

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There is a global upsurge in the use of cemented paste backfill (CPB) for various mining functions. However, the cost of the Portland cement binder is prohibitive, thus warranting strategies to reduce cement usage without overly diminishing the CPB quality. Since carbon dioxide is used for patented sand moulding processes, this study is premised on that physicochemical ability of CO2 to enhance the curing of consolidated inorganic materials. It evaluated the impact of carbon dioxide on the uniaxial compressive strength UCS and preparation cost of CPB standard samples (ASTM C109). The preparation cost was delimited to the purchase cost of the Portland cement. The backfill material was silica sand tailings with 4.5 wt.% Portland cement binder and a water-cement ratio of 7.6. Distilled water of pH 5.4 was used for the control samples while variable amounts of carbon dioxide were dissolved in distilled water to generate carbonated mixing water with pH values of 3.8; 4 and 4.2. The lower the carbonated water pH, the higher is the CO2 concentration. UCS tests were conducted on the samples after curing for 3, 7, 28, and 90 days. There was an observable increase in the UCSs and reduction in curing time with increasing carbon dioxide. Samples prepared with carbonated water of pH 3.8 had almost double the strength of those prepared with pure distilled water of pH 5.4, implying that more dissolved CO2 corresponds to higher CPB strength. This is supported by the trendline equations for the graphical simulation of strength on curing time. Thus, CPB with much less binder can be expected to attain the requisite UCS if carbon dioxide is incorporated. The average reduction in Portland cement consumption was 0.61 %, which translates to a cost saving of the same percentage points. If calculated over the operational life of a mine, this is a massive saving of millions of dollars.

How to cite: Bukasa , P. M., Mashingaidze , M. M., & Simasiku , S. L. (2023). Impact of carbon dioxide on the main geotechnical quality criteria and preparation cost of cemented paste backfill. Journal of Mining Institute.