Authors: Hachey, LM; Lanoue, AV


Cite As:
Hachey, LM & Lanoue, AV 2011, 'Use of three-dimensional topography as a tool for closure integration at Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Mildred Lake and Aurora North leases', 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. 403-411,

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Planning for closure in the mineable oil sands has evolved since the industry began in the late sixties. Throughout this evolution, Syncrude has been a leader in land reclamation, reclamation research and reclamation certification, having received the first ever reclamation certificate in the oil sands for Gateway Hill, a landform that began construction in the 1980s. Today, central to closure planning is the desire and expectation that boundaries at closure will be integrated with the adjacent land, whether another lease or with the natural environment. Syncrude's vision for the 2011 Life of Mine Closure submission was to build a plan that is both attainable and defensible with realistic assumptions that meet the above criteria and the goal of a landscape that does not require perpetual maintenance. To meet these goals, Syncrude has undergone organisational changes and increased investment in integrated mine, tailings, reclamation and closure planning. The outcome is a process that supports opportunities for identifying challenges and optimisation through planning and testing. Central to the gains made in the integrated closure planning approach taken by Syncrude for the 2011 Life of Mine Closure submission, and the focus of this paper, is the development of a physically sound three-dimensional model of the final closure landscape for Syncrude's Mildred Lake and Aurora North leases. Two case studies are presented that illustrate the benefits of this approach that provide a foundation for the more traditional elements of closure planning.

BGC (2009) Syncrude Landform design Guide. Consultant report prepared by BGC Engineering for Syncrude Canada, Ltd.
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Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) (2009) ERCB Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes, Alberta.
Golder (2004) Vegetation waterways design guide for Syncrude Mine Closure Drainage. Consultant report prepared by Golder Associates for Syncrude Canada, Ltd.
Oil Sands Developers Group (OSDG) (2009) The Oil Sands Developers Group, Alberta, viewed 8 May, 2011,

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