Mythbusting: Tailings Environmental Priority Area

tailings technology oil sands

COSIA members are working aggressively on innovative, sustainable approaches to reduce tailings volumes, accelerate tailings reclamation times, increase water recycling and decrease fugitive (unintended) GHG emissions from tailings. Significant progress has been made through these projects, which leverage years of research and technical expertise shared among COSIA members.

In 2020, 57 active Tailings projects were underway through COSIA at a cost of $150 million. Since 2012, COSIA members have invested $826 million in 228 contributed tailings technologies

Some oil sands facilities now supply nearly 100 per cent of their makeup water from recycled or processed tailings water. And a 2020 BMO Capital Markets report notes that break-through technologies are currently in late-stage development that could accelerate tailings recovery and eliminate the future need for settling ponds.

COSIA member efforts include:
•    Actively developing new and improved tailings technologies to mitigate the accumulation of fluid tailings (fine tailings particles suspended in tailings ponds)
•    Mitigating the environmental impacts of tailings production.
•    Reducing the time frame required to achieve a reclaimed landscape.
•    Creating best practices for tailings management and share across industry 

It's all about improving environmental performance in the oil sands to support sustainable development of Canada’s oil sands and economic growth. Find out more in our 2020 Annual Report.

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