Authors: Gidley, IDC; Boswell, JES


DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1363_42_Gidley

Cite As:
Gidley, IDC & Boswell, JES 2013, 'A model for technology development in oil sands tailings', in R Jewell, AB Fourie, J Caldwell & J Pimenta (eds), Paste 2013: Proceedings of the 16th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 547-558, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1363_42_Gidley

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Abstract:
Technology development is a key component of oil sands tailings management. As new needs arise from production demands, increasing environmental standards, heightened regulatory vigilance and cost saving imperatives, technology must be developed to meet those needs. The development of tailings technology has become a time- and resource-intensive process, with no guarantees that the investment will lead to a commercially viable product. The demand for a robust technology development process was recognised as key to the development of Tailings Development Roadmaps for the Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES) project. One of the key components of the project was to deliver a tailings technology development model that would serve as a guideline for technology development within the oil sands tailings industry. In providing a framework for technology development, valuable resources are carefully integrated so as to enhance the prospects for success, while reducing risks and delays. This paper describes an 18 step iterative technology development model, developed through a literature review of technology development within international mining and other industries and tailings sectors, consultation with oil sands tailings industry experts, and a specialist workshop. The 18 steps are integrated into four stages of development: Formulation and Mobilisation; Research; Development; Commercial Implementation. Each stage and each step is defined in terms of priorities, goals, pitfalls, roadblocks and remedies along the technology development path, with essential iterations and linkages to other steps. The ultimate goal of the model is to reduce the number of promising tailings technologies that fail, to identify potential fatal flaws as early as possible in the development cycle, and to focus the investment of time, funding and valuable resources on the most rewarding technologies. In presenting this model, it is the authors’ hope that other tailings sectors may benefit from the insights gained in the oil sands, to provide scrutiny of the model proposed, and offer additional learning which may add further value to tailings technology development worldwide, and particularly in the paste tailings community.

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