Lafarge’s ultra green cement helps make backfill more sustainable at Brucejack gold mine in BC

As a leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Lafarge Canada is making it easier for mining companies to extract material sustainably. And a new ultra low carbon cement – part of their ECOPlanet portfolio – has shown great success at BC’s Brucejack gold mine with over 3,000 truckloads delivered to date. Brucejack is owned and operated by Pretivm Resources currently but a takeover by Newcrest is set to close in Q1 2022.

ECOPlanet is Lafarge’s sustainable cement portfolio, providing reductions of CO2 emissions right up to 100%. It says their use as a partial replacement for portland cement not only results in more durable, high-performance concrete but also lowers energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. “There’s no question that using sustainable materials is the only way to remedy our current climate crisis,” explains Brad Kohl, President & CEO of Lafarge Western Canada. “The ECOPlanet product series has a significant impact on the environment and delivers superior performance in a number of applications, including mining in sensitive regions.”

Since 2017, Lafarge Canada has supplied over 145,000 t of ECOPlanet T90 cement to the Brucejack mine, a high-grade underground gold mine located 65 km north of Stewart. ECOPlanet T90 is a specialised engineered blend of cementitious and other construction materials that allows for a more efficient and cost-effective solution for backfilling underground mines. And Brucejack’s custom T90 blend far exceeds the industry average of emissions, with a 90% reduction in CO2 over standard portland cement. “We reduce as much as we possibly can,” says Kohl. “When the opportunity is there, we take it.”

An onsite batch plant mixes the tailings with Lafarge’s T90, ECOPlanet cement used as paste backfill in the mined out stopes. The sustainable properties of ECOPlanet T90 are the primary benefit, but as Kohl explains: “The ECOPlanet T90 actually works with the mine tailings to provide a stronger, more durable fill.” Brucejack realised that ECOPlanet TerraFlow90 improved their fill performance as well as compared to pure portland cement – the reaction of Ecoplant T90 with the sulphide- and sulphate-bearing tailings led to an even stronger product. “ECOPlanet is proven to work with no compromise on performance,” says Kohl. “We must protect and preserve the environment now, more than ever – and this is a huge step forward in that direction.”