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Specialized research & development in the mining industry

Radioactive waste stabilization program

The Radioactive Waste Program develops methods and innovative techniques to characterize, recover key elements, treat and stabilize both solid and liquid forms of radioactive wastes. This research minimizes the environmental impact of the wastes generated by the mining industry and other industries.

Using a wide range of expertise in waste stabilization and solidification, cement and other cementing materials, concrete, mechanical testing and durability assessment of solid materials, mineral processing, chemical & mineralogical characterization and analysis, metal recovery, the program undertakes research in the following areas:

  • Solidification and stabilization - development of optimum cementing mixtures for long-term storage of radioactive wastes in terms of strength, durability characteristics and chemical stability;
  • Sampling and characterization - providing essential analytical services for research and development dealing with radioactive and hazardous wastes;
  • Waste engineering - development, testing and assessment of comminution, pre-processing and sampling strategies for radioactive solid wastes; and
  • Metals recovery - innovations in waste management by extracting and recovering key elements from radioactive and hazardous wastes.

Tight oil and gas development

Oil and gas companies working in Canada’s Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin have identified just over 500 million barrels of proven and probable light tight oil reserves, commonly referred to as Shale Oil, and these estimates are expected to grow significantly as exploration efforts expand. With current technology and production techniques, only a small portion of the oil and gas can be technically recovered. Technology is the key driver for economically bringing into production oil and gas from shale and other low permeability formations. Once considered uneconomic to produce, two key advancements, multi-stage hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, have helped to unlock oil and gas from these tight reservoirs.

Advanced separation technologies for better environmental performance

CanmetMINING has developed capacity and expertise in membrane separation technology and its application in the treatment of different wastewater and effluent streams in mining and oil and gas sectors. Membrane separation technology is finding broader use in the mining and oil and gas industry, especially in oil sands sector. Water management, energy efficiency and carbon footprint in the in-situ oil sands production are directly linked. CanmetMINING, in collaboration with CanmetENERGY, Environment Canada, University of Ottawa and a number of engineering, membrane and oil sands companies, has been involved in the development of ceramic membrane based process for treatment and recycling of Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) produced water at high temperatures (90-160°C). The benefits of this research to the industry include reduced capital and operating expenditures due to increased water and improved energy efficiency.

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