Current Reclamation Approach at the Syncrude Oil Sands Plant. IN: Proceedings of the Conference Reclamation, A Global Perspective

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  • Syncrude Canada Ltd. is an oil sands surface mining and process venture located at the Athabasca Oil Sands deposit in northeastern Alberta, Canada. An estimated 300 billion barrels of oil are considered recoverable from this deposit. The Alberta Government maintains that mined land be reclaimed to an acceptable end land use with a capability ‘equal to or better than' that which was present prior to mining. This paper presents an overview of Syncrude’s current land reclamation approach. Prior to the mine overburden prestripping process, intensive sampling is conducted to assess the quality and volume of suitable reclamation materials present. These materials are then used to cap the tailings sand and the overburden disposal piles to depths of 70 cm and 100 cm, respectively. Locally grown indigenous tree seedlings are then planted on the capping materials. When reclamation is completed, the final landform, made up of recontoured undulating topography, with improved internal soil water drainage and soil properties, is expected to be a least equal to the pre-disturbed state in terms of ecological capability. The plant communities will be permanent, self-supporting and maintenance free.

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