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As part of an industry wide technology development effort led by the production operators of the Athabasca Oil Sands of northeastern Alberta, Canada, a significant step forward in full scale application of the thin lift dewatering process known as mature fine tailings (MFT) drying (Wells and Riley, 2007) has been made by Suncor Energy Inc. This new process has demonstrated, at full production scale, dewatering performance that was previously considered to be technically unfeasible. Advances in both the chemical additives used as well as the mixing and depositional controls resulted in performance improvements sufficient to allow the full scale adoption of the technology by Suncor Energy Inc. This paper outlines these advances as well as the improved understanding in the behaviour of the materials.
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