JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, vol.222, pp.250-259, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)
This study presents the utilisation of finely ground construction and demolition waste (CDW) as partial replacement (5-15 wt.%) to sulphide tailings on the short- and long-term strength, durability (i.e. no loss of strength) and microstructural properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) over a curing period of 360 days. The CPB samples containing CDW were prepared at binder dosages of 7.5 and 8.5 wt.%, while control samples (full tailings) were only produced at 8.5 wt.% binder dosage. A total of 108 CPB samples were subjected to the unconfined compressive strength (UCS), acid/sulphate (pH, SO42-) and microstructure (MIP, XRD etc.) tests. Despite its limited contribution to the resistance of CPB to acid and sulphate attack, the use of CDW as partial replacement (5-15 wt.%) to sulphide tailings enhanced the strength properties of CPB samples by decreasing the total and macro porosity. The UCSs and pH values of CPB samples increased with increasing the CDW content in CPB mixtures, while the generation of sulphate ions (SO42-) decreased irrespective of the binder dosages. Compared with control samples prepared at 8.5 wt.% binder dosage, 5.3-19.5% higher UCS values were obtained for the CPB samples containing 15 wt.% CDW prepared even at 7.5 wt.% binder dosage. Mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) analyses proved the beneficial effect of the use of CDW on the microstructural properties (i.e. total porosity) of CPB. These findings suggest that CDW materials can be suitably used as backfill material in the mining industry to fill underground voids created during the ore production. This offers safe disposal and hence environmentally sound management of CDW.