After providing Shell Albian Sands (Shell) with information gathered from our experience with hydraulically constructed sand dams, Ausenco was further retained to provide an oil sands tailings scouting study at Shell’s oil extraction facility in Alberta, Canada.
Shell operates a facility which removes bitumen from mined oil sands. The process produces tailings that are deposited within impoundments on site and in situ within mined areas. Containment embankments for the tailings are primarily constructed from sand recovered from the tailings stream.
Ausenco was retained to review sand stacking systems and arrangements, with a goal of determining the appropriate alternatives for the two aspects of the project:
Challenges presented by the project included the client’s desire to handle large particles (>50mm) as well as the region’s low temperature extremes.
Ausenco’s scope of the work for the project included:
During 2015, Shell said its Albian Sands mining operations accounted for 17% of Canada's total oil production.