ALBERTA — Calgary-headquartered Suncor Energy has applied to Alberta Environment and the Energy Resources Conservation Board for permission to implement its new tailings reduction operations (TRO) for its oil sands tailings. The new technology offers significant improvement in the speed of reclamation of oil sands tailings that the company has been amassing north of Fort McMurray since 1967.
Suncor's TRO involves converting fluid fine tailings more rapidly into a solid landscape suitable for reclamation. In this process, mature fine tails is mixed with a polymer flocculent, then deposited in thin layers over sand beaches with shallow slopes. The resulting product is a dry material that is capable of being reclaimed in place or moved to another location for final reclamation. This drying process occurs over a matter of weeks, allowing reclamation activities to begin earlier. The new process is expected to improve management of tailings going forward, and can also be used to reduce existing tailings inventory at Suncor’s operations.
Suncor has been working closely with key stakeholders to ensure they understand the proposed new process and technology and the company understands any concerns they may have. This stakeholder engagement will continue through the regulatory review process. Pending approvals, Suncor plans to begin rapidly accelerating the implementation TRO in 2010.
To view a video explaining TRO, visit www.Suncor.com/tailings.