Sandhill Fen recognized for environmental excellence

The Mining Association of Canada has named Syncrude’s Sandhill Fen research project as the winner of its inaugural Towards Sustainable Mining Award for Environmental Excellence.

The TSM award recognizes innovative projects and initiatives that expand and promote sustainable development within the mining sector across Canada.

“We’re pleased to see this kind of recognition for the Sandhill Fen project, which demonstrates our commitment to improving our reclamation practices,” said Peter Read, vice president, Strategic Planning, who accepted the award on behalf of Syncrude.

Research and technology development have been key for us to continuously improve all areas of our operation and Syncrude has focused on reclamation since we started in 1964. The Sandhill Fen is the latest proof this work pays off and we’re excited about what this project will teach us going forward.

Peter Read

Syncrude developed the project as part of a research watershed that covers 52 hectares of sand-capped soft tailings its former 60-metre-deep East Mine. Scientists introduced a variety of wetland plants throughout the fen and planted more than 100,000 trees and shrubs on the uplands surrounding the project. Additionally, a number of native plants have successfully taken seed and are growing on their own without having been planted.

Syncrude completed construction of the watershed in 2012 and will closely monitor its progress over the next 10 to 20 years. While the project is still in its infancy, it has already yielded some encouraging results that will prove invaluable in improving wetland reclamation design and practices at Syncrude and the rest of the oil sands industry.

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