Oil Sands Tailings Technology Review

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  • BGC Engineering Inc. (BGC) conducted a review of existing tailings technologies for the Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN). Over the years, many technologies have been proposed and field tested but they have been rejected for lack of technical or economic feasibility. With no unique and acceptable solution yet in sight, research is now focusing on schemes which utilize more than one technology and combining them into a disposal package. This report presents an in-depth review of the state-of-knowledge related to oil sands fine tailings treatment technologies. All information is from publicly available sources at the time of writing. The aim of this report is to serve as a fundamental planning document for future research initiatives by OSRIN and other research agencies to support, promote, and improve the oil sands industry’s capability to deal with the challenges of fine tailings management. We identified 34 oil sands tailings treatment technologies that are discussed and analyzed from a fundamental and practical point of view. The technologies were divided into five groups: (i) Physical/Mechanical Processes, (ii) Natural Processes, (iii) Chemical/ Biological Amendments, (iv) Mixtures/Co-disposal, and (v) Permanent Storage.

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    Attribution 3.0 International