Athabasca tar sands study: Interim report on environmental constraints and research priorities for mining/hot water extraction technology

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  • Recommendations: 1. Determine the location and capacity of natural drainage basins (if any) within the mineable area which could be dedicated to the storage of tailings without detriment to the environment. 2. In future the storage of tailings in dyked ponds on the banks of the Athabasca River should be prohibited. 3. Establish a coordinated research program to progressively alleviate the tailings problem. 4. Commence large scale field tests to simulate reclamation techniques. 5. Remove all existing restrictions on available information which is required for environmental planning. 6. Utilize the existing operation on Lease 86 to generate additional data required for environmental planning. 7. Prepare a regional plan for permissable industrial development based upon environmental considerations - with particular regard to human ecology. 8. Future applications for development should be required to demonstrate significant contributions to environmental protection. 9. Financial incentives should be provided to stimulate research and development in Alberta, by Canadians, to resolve the potential environmental problems - notably those involving tailings accumulation and reclamation. 10. Authorize the Alberta Research Council to coordinate technological research required for environmental protection and improvement. 11. Authorize a study of meteorological conditions affecting the Bituminous Sands Area. 12. Initiate groundwater measurements to monitor subterranean conditions. 13. Expand the existing program of sampling and analyzing the Athabasca River.

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