Authors: MacKenzie, DD; Amponsah, IG; Bergstrom, DW; Anderson, HB


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MacKenzie, DD, Amponsah, IG, Bergstrom, DW & Anderson, HB 2011, 'Defining best management practices for conservation of reclamation materials in the mineable oil sands region of Alberta', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 125-131,

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In the mineable oil sands region of northeastern Alberta the bitumen-bearing McMurray formation is extracted by open-pit mining using trucks and shovels. Given increasing concern over environmental impacts, more assurance is demanded in the overall reclamation process.As part of the response to this situation, a task-group was formed to define Best Management Practices (BMPs) for conservation of reclamation materials in the mineable oil sands region of Alberta. This paper describes the setting in which the task-group was formed, the process by which BMPs were defined and the structure of the BMP document. It also provides a retrospective analysis of the exercise, identifying what the challenges were and assessing how and to what degree they were overcome. The task-group faced three specific challenges when trying to define BMPs. Firstly, it was impossible to define BMPs based solely on effective implementation at an operational scale. Secondly, it was difficult to anticipate all possible operational constraints and define BMPs in consideration of the full extent of the mine disturbance. Thirdly, reclamation of entire landscapes is an ecologically complex task. In the face of these challenges, it was easier to define BMPs for salvage than placement of reclamation materials.

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