Ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) test is one of the most popular non-destructive techniques used in the assessment of the mechanical properties of concrete or rock materials. In this study, the effects of binder type/dosage, water to cement ratio (w/c) and fines content (<20 mu m) of the tailings on ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) of cemented paste backfill (CPB) samples were investigated and correlated with the corresponding unconfined compressive strength (UCS) data. A total of 96 CPB samples prepared at different mixture properties were subjected to the UPV and UCS tests at 7, 14, 28 and 56-days of curing periods. UPV and UCS of CPB samples of ordinary Portland cement (CEM I 42.5 R) and sulphate resistant cement (SRC 32.5) initially increased rapidly, but, slowed down after 14 days. However, UPV and UCS of CPB samples of the blast furnace slag cement (CEM III/A 42.5 N) steadily increased between 7 and 56 days. Increasing binder dosage or reducing w/c ratio and fines content (<20 mu m) increased the UCS and UPV of CPB samples. UPV was found to be particularly sensitive to fines content. UCS data were correlated with the corresponding UPV data. A linear relation appeared to exist between the UCS and UPV of CPB samples. These findings have demonstrated that the UPV test can be reliably used for the estimation of the strength of CPB samples. (C) 2014 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.