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fine-tailings drying studies

fine-tailings drying studies
client
Canadian oil sands companies
location
Alberta

using bench-scale testing to evaluate and optimize tailings-management approaches

Several Canadian oil sands clients hired Barr to evaluate ways to reduce tailings emissions and de-liquefy and strengthen fine tailings for reclamation by atmospheric drying. Our work included evaluating dewatering rates, strength gain, and the resulting emissions for test methods in comparison to those from traditional tailings-pond operation. We built wind tunnels and developed bench-scale and field tests to evaluate processes under controlled and scaled conditions. Using this data, we assessed the effectiveness of atmospheric drying and modeled emissions-generation rates and dispersion.

The results, findings, and suggested future actions showed that the proposed tailings-management strategies would be effective. The data Barr developed have also helped our clients prepare required regulatory submittals. Scale-up factors were prepared to apply the bench results to full-scale designs. In addition, field programs and modeling were identified that would help our clients optimize their tailings-management approaches.