Suncor received approval from Alberta regulators in June 2010 to expand use of our new TROTM tailings management approach, which we expect will significantly reduce tailings reclamation time.
As of 2012, we had completed more than $1.3 billion of work to implement the TROTM process in our Oil Sands operation. Our new approach has already enabled us to cancel plans for five additional tailings ponds.
In the years ahead, we expect it will help us reduce the number of tailings ponds at our current mine site from eight to two, allowing us to reclaim entire mine sites in about a third of the time it now takes — resulting in more rapid restoration of natural habitats.
The full-scale commercial implementation of the TROTM process is well underway with six systems in operation, and plans to build further systems in the coming years.
Heading into the 2012/2013 winter season (when drying isn't possible), Suncor had:
- used its TROTM method to process 2.9 million tonnes of tailings fines in 2012 (compared to 2.4 million tonnes of tailings fines in 2011)
- peak capacity to process up to 45,000 tonnes of tailings fines per day (compared to a tailing fines processing capacity of 30,000 tonnes per day in 2011)
- operated six TROTM process mature fine tailings (MFT) drying systems (compared to four drying systems in 2010 and one drying system in 2009)
- advanced plans to add MFT drying systems for the next three years, resulting in increased capacity to process tailings fines
The second phase of the TROTM process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. This second phase involves the addition of two tailings lines that will direct all tailings from primary extraction to a sand placement area.
As a COSIA member company and a believer in accelerating environmental performance, Suncor has shared details specific to its TROTM process with the other companies. In return, we have been provided access to the technologies that others are using to manage their existing tailings ponds.
Through shared research, experience, expertise and financial commitments, we are able to investigate new tailings technologies at a more rapid pace. We anticipate that this sharing of resources through COSIA will dramatically improve tailings management now and at future oil sands mine sites. Learn more about COSIA's tailings environmental priority area (EPA).
Read more about our water management strategies
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