Imperial lets contract for Alberta tailings management

Feb. 20, 2024
Imperial Oil has let a field construction contract to Worley for the in-pit tailings infrastructure project at its Kearl open pit mine in Canada.

Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. has let a field construction contract to Worley for the in-pit tailings infrastructure project at its Kearl open pit mine 70 km north of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada.

Tailings are the water, clay, sand, and a small amount of bitumen that remain after most of the bitumen has been removed from the sand during the tar-sand extraction process.  Imperial treats tailings immediately using thickener technology that intercepts tailings and processes them into a paste where they are then managed until returned underground as part of the ongoing reclamation of the Kearl lease.

The contract, which is expected to take up to 2 years to complete, is for a subsequent phase of the project.

Kearl has an estimated 4.6 billion bbl recoverable bitumen resource. Initial development began in April 2013 and start-up of the Kearl expansion in mid-2015 brought production capacity to 220,000 b/d.

UPDATED to reflect that the project is an open pit mine with no underground operations.