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measurement of fugitive GHG emissions from tailings basin and mine area

measurement of fugitive GHG emissions from tailings basin and mine area
client
confidential fuels client
location
Alberta

meticulous fieldwork fosters accurate, punctual reports

On behalf of an oil sands company, Barr teamed with consulting firm Millennium EMS to measure greenhouse gas emissions with flux chambers at more than 250 locations, including mine faces, sand disposal areas, reclaimed areas, and tailings basins. Using a portable laser-based analyzer, we measured CO2 and methane emissions in real time. We also used summa canisters to collect a subset of flux chamber samples for off-site lab analysis to determine concentrations of VOCs and sulfur compounds. Our data analysis team reviewed the lab results for accuracy. 

The collected field and lab data were used to develop emission factors for each of the site's distinct area of activity. To delineate zones with different ore characteristics, we employed GIS mapping of the mine’s elevation data, along with geographic coordinates of advancing mine-extraction work. The material-specific emission factors, in turn, were applied to the total area of each delineated zone of material in which activity had taken place the previous calendar year, which enabled us to calculate the total annual fugitive emissions from the facility. Those emissions, combined with point-source emissions from upgrader operations (which process the ore to produce crude oil), constitute the annual total GHG emissions reported by the facility to the province.   

Barr continues to assist this company and others in the oil sands industry with multiple aspects of tailings management, including air emissions monitoring and reporting.