work underway on a water-discharge structure we designed for poor soil conditions
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non-segregating tailings-deposition studies

non-segregating tailings-deposition studies
client
confidential oil sands client
location
Alberta

helping an oil sands client meet tailings-basin requirements

Barr teamed with Deltares, a Dutch nonprofit research institute, to design and implement a bench- and pilot-scale test program to develop a low-shear method for placing non-segregating tailings (NST) at commercial scale with maximum fines capture and strength gain. The work is being completed as part of an oil sands client's continuing efforts to achieve compliance with Alberta's tailings-basin reclamation requirements, which state that basins must be trafficable after reclamation and meet the government’s criteria for returning ecosystems to self-sustaining conditions.

Bench-scale testing of NST mixtures was conducted to evaluate the segregating properties of coagulated tailings during different conditions. Barr and Deltares performed pilot-scale testing in an instrumented, custom-built, 25-meter flume to compare a traditional horizontal-discharge pipe to a low-shear tremie-diffuser. The purpose is to select a commercial-scale depositional method that delivers NST in a way that meets regulatory requirements. Barr and Deltares designed and supervised the fabrication of the flume and tremie-diffuser deposition systems and conducted all the experiments on this multi-phase project.

Our two firms are currently conducting additional testing to evaluate the robustness of the deposition system for the anticipated variability in tailings produced by our client's plant. We also prepared a conceptual model and cost estimate for deploying tremie-diffusers at the end of a standard NST tailings pipeline.