Planning and development of Syncrude's new truck and shovel oilsands mine

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 968, 1993

J. MacNeil, Syncrude Canada Ltd. Fort McMurray, Alberta

Syncrude Canada Ltd. operates one of the largest surface mines in the world. The mining operation has two distinct phases: (1) the removal of the overburden, utilizing trucks and shovels; and (2) the mining ofoilsand with draglines and buck-etwheels. Both phases combined move approximately 330 000 BCM per day. In support of current production demands and to provide a contingent oilsand source, Syncrude has developed an Auxiliary Production System (APS) supported by the truck and shovel operation. This system utilizes oilsand sources within the existing mine area on an as-needed basis. The recent increased capabilities of the processing plant to handle a larger volume ofoilsand has increased the reliance of the APS system. To facilitate the increased capacity, an auxiliary mine was developed external to the Base Mine operation with a production capacity of 4.7 MBCM of oilsand per year. Development of the Northwest Auxiliary Pit began in January 1990, with the first cubic metre ofoilsand taken to the plant in June, 1990. The Auxiliary Pit, as designed, has a total ore reserve of 68 MBCM of oilsand.
Keywords: Equipment, Oilsands, Mine development, Syncrude, Truck and shovel oilsands mine.