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British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Pond 1 : closure of the first oil sands tailings pond Anderson, H. Bruce; Wells, Patrick Sean; Cox, Lelaynia


Since 1966, Suncor’s Pond 1 has operated as part of the shoreline of the Athabasca River in northeastern Alberta, Canada. Perched in this sensitive area, this pond is almost unique in the Canadian landscape and represents a bygone era. Operated as an active pond for over thirty years, Suncor committed to close the pond by 2010 and applied dedicated resources, both technical and operational, to achieve that goal. The challenges associated with closing an oil sands tailings pond were unknown, as it had not been attempted prior to the Pond 1 efforts. The successful infilling of the pond was completed in 2009, and final surface landforming and revegetation will be complete by the fall of 2010. The reclamation techniques, many used for the first time in oil sands, represent an evolution in reclamation practice over forty years.

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