Program ID: Innovation Anthology #234
Program Date: 06/16/2009
Program Category: Energy, Engineering, Environment, Forests, Oil Sands, Water
Artificial Lake Reclaims Retired Oil Sands Mine
In 2012, Syncrude will finish a pit where it has been mining oil sands over the last two decades.
In its place, the company will begin building a huge experimental lake it is calling Base Mine Lake.
As Syncrude’s technology development officer Jim Lorentz explains, dried tailings left over from oil sands production will form the lake bottom.
JIM LORENTZ: And that is where we add a layer of mature fine tails and then we cap it with a freshwater cap. The lake is designed to have latoral zones which are the shallow zones where some of the vegetation and stuff you see in lakes growth from, allowing a lot of sunlight to permeate through and encouraging biological activity. The belief is after 10 years, we would have enough biological activity at the point where we could start introducing more complex life, like fish and amphibians, those kind of things.
According to Jim Lorentz, Base Mine Lake builds on the success of a previous four acre lake pilot. Future monitoring of the aquatic environment will be extensive.
Thanks today to Syncrude Canada.
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I'M CHERYL CROUCHER