Concepts in lease-closure landscapes

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 89, No. 1002, 1996

Gordon T. McKenna, Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton Research Centre, Edmonton, Alberta

Syncrude Canada Ltd. is developing new concepts in lease-closure landscape design for its Oil Sands Leases 17 and 22 in northeastern Alberta. Closure planning is becoming an integral part of the planning cycles and of the lease operation. By incorporating closure planning into the day-to-day operation, the company will achieve acceptable lease closure in an economical manner. Ultimately, Syncrude will achieve lower operating costs through innovation in mine planning and a reduction in residual liabilities. New concepts being evaluated for leaseclosure landscape design include: designing for closure, use of landforms and natural analogs, self-armouring bouldery ground, robustness in design, landform grading, terrain analysis of reclaimed land, geotechnical hazard assessments, choices in closure design timeframes, passive maintenance, determining post-closure monitoring goals, engineering tailings, engineering other substrates, use of test plots and field demonstrations, geomorphologic monitoring of reclaimed lands, defining closure goals, and visiting other mines. These concepts are being formalized under the new discipline of Landscape Engineering.