In an effort to improve efficiencies and reduce costs, AngloGold has embarked on a process to develop and deliver consistent, high quality, tailings based support or construction products to stopes and tunnels on request. A three-phase approach of product conceptualisation, design and delivery has been adopted. To date a substantial amount of laboratory development has taken place with promising results, indicating that the project aims are achievable.

Dans un effort pour ameliorer le rendement et reduire les coûts, AngloGold s'est embarque dans une operation qui vise à developper et fournir aux chantiers d'extraction et tunnels, sur demande, des produits de construction ou de support bases sur rejets qui sont reguliers et de haute qualite. Une methode à trois volets a ete adoptee: conception, creation et livraison. A ce jour, un developpement important en laboratoire s'est produit, avec des resultats pleins de promesses, qui semblent indiquer que les buts du projet peuvent être atteints.

In der Bemuehung, die Effizienz zu steigern und Kosten zu verringern, hat AngloGold begonnen ein Verfahren zu entwickeln welches auf Anfrage konsistent hochqualitative auf Haufwerk basierender Unterstuetzung oder Bauprodukte fuer Abbaustellen und Tunnels entwickelt und liefert Eine Dreiphasenplan zur Produktkonzeptualisierung, Design und Lieferung wurde adoptiert. Bis jetzt hat eine substantielle Anzahl an Laborentwicklung mit vielversprechenden Resultaten stattgefunden und aufgezeigt, daß die Projektziele erreichbar sind.


Every day considerable resources are dedicated to the transportation of support products on South African Gold Mines. These support products range from timber (elongates and packs) to concrete and cementitious products (shotcrete, grouts, packs etc.). These products are generally handled many times in their journey from surface to the stope and tunnel faces where they are utilised. As mining progresses deeper, the logistical complexity increases. In an increasingly competitive environment, there is considerable pressure to reduce costs and increase profitability.

In July 2000, a strategy to deliver support by pipeline was outlined1. This proposed making use of the backfill systems present on many of AngloGold's South African mines to deliver a variety of underground support systems by pipeline. This was a continuation and expansion of the Pack in a Pipe project, which had been initiated at Matjhabeng Mine several years earlier and subsequently continued at Great Noligwa Mine. Previously, work had been done in the early 1990's by Technical Development Services (TDS).

The Product in a Pipe project commenced in 2001 under the banner of the AngloGold Technology and Innovation Fund2. The aim was to deliver underground support systems by pipeline. The drivers for this project were as follows3:

  • Increased productivity

  • Decreased costs

  • Lower pay limits

It was envisaged that this would be achieved by the following:

  • Reducing reliance on timber

  • Reducing materials handling

  • Improve recovery of high grade ore

  • Reduce transport system loading

  • Reduced congestion in tunnels

  • Design flexibility

  • Improved quality

Several areas of development were identified based on the operational needs of the different mines. The initial focus was on the following support products:

  • Backfill

  • Packfill

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