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Permanent Aquatic Storage Structure (PASS) Demonstration Pit Lake Research Project

Strategic Area

Mining - Technology and Innovation
Water use and impacts on aquatic ecosystems




Alberta Innovates


Clean Growth Program



CGP Contribution

$ 3,000,000

Project Total

$ 25,814,334


Fort McMurray, AB

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Suncor Energy

Lead Proponent

Suncor Energy Inc.

Project Objectives

The objective of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Permanent Aquatic Storage Structure (PASS) to accelerate the dewatering and removal of contaminants in fluid tailings, and combined with watershed design, create a self-sustaining boreal pit lake ecosystem.

An innovation in land reclamation, it has a strong potential to rapidly improve water management and quality in planned pit lakes and shorten the timelines for oil sands mine reclamation and closure.

Expected Results

The project will improve the reclamation performance of the oil sands sector by preventing land disturbance and accelerating the closure timelines as well as reduced air impacts and improved water quality in pit lakes.

With the adoption of the PASS technology in commercial operations, water expressed from the fluid tailings will be recycled in the operations to reduce river water use and water quality improvements results in water that is suitable for release back to the environment. Land requirements will also be significantly reduced with this aquatic treatment and reclamation approach, requiring lesser total disturbance requirements and an even smaller area devoted to fluid tailings treatment within the current footprint.

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