Syncrude oilsands tailings plan approved by regulator despite deficiencies

CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator has approved a tailings pond management plan for oilsands miner Syncrude Canada despite its reliance on a remediation method that isn’t endorsed by the agency.

The regulator requires that all oilsands mine producers outline how they will deal with the toxic storage ponds that together cover more than 220 square kilometres and contain almost 1.2 trillion litres of water contaminated with oil, chemicals and fine clay particles.

The AER says Syncrude’s plan to use fresh water to create lakes by “capping” its remaining tailings at the end of mine life isn’t allowed under current government policy and it therefore must present an alternative plan by the end of this year.

Syncrude’s water-capping technology has been tested on site since 2012 and will be ready for a 10-year assessment in 2023.

The AER says that will give Syncrude enough time to deploy an alternative end-of-mine-life treatment if water-capping fails the test or is still restricted by government policy.

Environmentalists have criticized the AER for approving tailings reduction plans for several oilsands mines though all have been found to have deficiencies.

The regulator says it agrees with Syncrude’s use of “composite tailings” technology to create a solid coarse sand product by mixing gypsum with some of its liquid tailings.

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read