What does it take to return our mines back to nature?
For Syncrude’s Audrey Lanoue, reclamation isn’t just about meeting regulatory requirements, it’s about achieving vibrant ecosystems that integrate with surrounding habitat by harnessing the knowledge of the brightest scientific minds. That’s why experts from Syncrude work together with leading university researchers to return mined land back to nature.
Audrey’s journey with Syncrude began in 1997, collecting soil samples in reclaimed areas as a summer student. And she can’t believe how far things have come. “Areas that were reclaimed when I started working at Syncrude are now hard to distinguish from the surrounding landscape. Our research and monitoring is showing that our reclamation practices are effective, but the ultimate test for me will be seeing our reclaimed land being used by the people of Alberta. That’s what drives me.”
Today, Audrey is the leader of the Mine Closure Research Team. “Historically, we have had two teams working on Mine Closure research, one focused on tailings and the other on reclamation and water,” she says. Treated mine tailings must be incorporated into reclaimed landscapes. The new Mine Closure Research team integrates tailings technology, reclamation and water research into a single team.
We know that tailings, landforms, soil, vegetation, and wildlife are all connected by water. With a team of experts across all these areas we are better positioned to address the challenges and opportunities of mine closure. It’s another example of how we’re always looking for a better way.
By championing a holistic approach to reclamation, people like Audrey keep Syncrude moving forward. Together, our 4,700 employees have what it takes for us to succeed.