FORT McMURRAY, Alberta SUNCOR ENERGY is launching an environmental impact assessment (EIA) next month on the proposed expansion of the Steepbank mine. Expanded production at Steepbank would replace deposits that will be depleted by the end of the decade.
The proposed $350-million development will cover 2,600 hectares, located across the Steepbank River and northeast of Suncor's existing mine. The extension, which is expected to have an 11-year life, is part of Suncor's strategy to increase oil production through development of three bitumen sources: surface mining, in-situ development and third party sources.
The EIA will include mitigation plans to address potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. It will also specifically address issues related to the crossing of the Steepbank River. Suncor is seeking regulatory approval by the end of 2006 with construction planned to commence in 2007. Production is planned for 2010.
The Steepbank expansion is part of Suncor's $3.4-billion Project Millennium. More information is available at www.suncor.com.