Coal is the basic resource underpinning energy generation in China, however, constant, large-scale mining of coal results in many problems such as ecological destruction of mining areas. As a result, backfilling of solid waste underground is proposed to control strata and surface subsidence and to protect the environment. At present, these materials, such as granular material, cemented material and high-water-content materials are mainly used for backfilling. This study summarised the types of backfill materials that are used in coal mines in China along with the backfilling process. Moreover, distribution and characteristics of mines backfilled with these backfill materials were obtained and analysed. Considering the socio-environmental aspects that affect backfilling, this research proposed a guideline for the selection of backfill materials and then analysed specific engineering cases of three backfill materials. In addition, the future development of backfill materials was discussed. With extensive extraction of shallow coal resources in China and, therefore, rapid depletion of coal resources in eastern regions of China, coal mining depth is increasing significantly. As a result, it is required to investigate new backfill materials suited for the deep high-stress environment.
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