Tuttle, S 2011, 'Translating the closure plan into an operational reclamation programme at Canadian Natural’s Horizon Oil Sands Mine', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 463-472, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_49_Tuttle
The conceptual Horizon Reclamation and Closure Plan was filed in 2002 in support of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a green field project application with an updated Closure and Reclamation Plan submitted in 2006. The Horizon Project reclamation goal is to achieve self-sustaining ecosystems with a capability equivalent to predevelopment conditions using locally common boreal forest communities as the template for revegetation activities. Self-sustaining ecosystems will evolve on reclaimed areas, from these new plantings to mature vegetation communities typical of the region.
Within any organisation, the implementation of new processes can test the systems that have been used as well as understanding the pressures and incentives to taking on new activities, such as reclamation. As a green field operation, Horizon Oil Sands has reclaimed the area for the compensation lake in 2008, but had not completed reclamation of any structures associated with the development of the mine until 2010 as the mining activities and processing of the oil sands started in early 2009. As a result of development of this new mine, Waste Area 1 was the first available mine structure upon which reclamation could be conducted.
There have been a number of learning elements from the implementation of reclamation for Horizon Oil Sands Waste Area 1 that will be useful in helping reduce the challenges of future on site reclamation activities. The systems and methods for turning the conceptual closure plan into an operational reclamation program are the focus of this paper.
Alberta Environment (2006) Land Capability Classification System for Forest Ecosystems in the Oil Sands, 3rd Edition, Volume 1: Field Manual for Land Capability Determination, prepared for Alberta Environment by the Terrestrial Subgroup of the Reclamation Working Group of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association, Fort McMurray, AB.
Alberta Environment (2010) Guidelines for Reclamation to Forest Vegetation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, 2nd edition, prepared by the Terrestrial Subgroup of the Reclamation Working Group of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association, Fort McMurray, AB, December 2009.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited (2002) Application for Approval for the Canadian Natural Resources Oil Sands Project, submitted to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and Alberta Environment, 28 June 2002.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited (2006) Horizon Oil Sands Project Life Of Mine Closure Plan, EPEA Approval Number 149968-00-02 (149968-00-01 as amended), prepared for Alberta Environment and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, 15 July 2006.
MacKenzie, D.D. (2006) Assisted natural recovery using a forest soil propagule bank in the Athabasca Oil Sands (Alberta). M.Sc. Thesis. University of Alberta, Canada.
Macyk, T.M. and Drozdowski, B.L. (2008) Comprehensive Report On Operational Reclamation Techniques In The Mineable Oil Sands Region, Alberta Research Council Inc., prepared for Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), 15 September 2008.
Oil Sands Mining End Land Use Committee (1998) Oil sands mining end land use committee report and recommendations. Prepared for Land Reclamation Division, Environmental Regulatory Service, Alberta Environmental Protection.