This study presents the effect of three different water-reducing admixtures (WRAs) on the rheological and mechanical properties of cemented paste backfill (CPB) samples. A 28-day strength of >= 0.7 MPa and the maintenance of the stability (i.e. >= 0.7 MPa) over 360 days of curing were desired as the design criteria. Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and Portland composite cement (PCC) were used as binders at 5 wt.% dose. WRAs were initially tested to determine the dosage of a WRA for a required consistency of 7 '' for CPB mixtures. A total of 192 CPB samples were then prepared using WRAs. The utilization of WRAs enhanced the flow characteristics of the CPB mixture and allowed to achieve the same consistency at a lower water-to-cement ratio. For OPC, the addition of WRAs appeared to improve the both short- and long-term performance of CPB samples. However, only polycarboxylate-based superplasticiser produced the desired 28-day strength of >= 0.7 MPa when PCC was used as the binder. These findings suggest that WRAs can be suitably exploited for CPB of sulphide-rich tailings to improve the strength and stability in short and long terms allowing to reduce binder costs in a CPB plant. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.