Tailings Environmental Priority Area Update

Laminar Flow Research

Canadian Natural Resources Limited is working with the Saskatchewan Research Council on developing a reliable model for designing pipelines to transport thickened tailings in a laminar flow.

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Jonathan Matthews

Jonathan Matthews
Director, Tailings EPA

The New Year has been a great opportunity for me to get a really good understanding of the 2015 priorities for the Tailings EPA members as I “strap in” to my new role as Tailings Director.

We started off the year with a check-in with the Tailings EPA Steering Committee in early January. This included a strategy review session to make sure our efforts are focused on the activities of greatest importance to our members. It was an informative, lively, and engaging session that gave clear direction on where we should be putting most of our efforts for what appears to be a challenging year ahead.

The single theme for the year ahead is making sure that the members of the Tailings EPA are getting the maximum value from COSIA and finding untapped high-value collaboration opportunities while ensuring we deliver on the current slate of initiatives.  For me, one of these key areas is best practices and operations experience – sharing the good and the bad so we can improve the efficiency of tailings operations now and in the future.

We also have a number of COSIA-led events we will be participating in. I’m looking forward to COSIA’s first Innovation Summit, which will take place in Banff, March 31 to April 2. For me, this will be a great way to see what is going on across the other EPAs, identify possible synergies and network with the members of the other EPAs and the wider innovation community.

On the knowledge and competency development front, the COSIA Oil Sands Clay Workshop and Conference is scheduled to take place at the University of Alberta in Edmonton on April 28 and 29. The conference, previously organized by the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD), will give technical specialists in industry, research, government, academia, and the service and technology sectors the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding the role of clay in the oil sands industry and, in particular, how to exploit this knowledge to improve tailings management practices.

The first quarter of 2015 is off to a great start. I look forward to telling you how it all goes in Q2.