$2B oilsands expansion approved

EDMONTON — Cenovus Energy's Foster Creek underground oilsands project has won approval for an estimated $2-billion expansion that will see 1,000 construction jobs created at the site 120 kilometres north of Bonnyville.

The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board approval announced Monday covers the next three phases of expansion (F, G and H) for Alberta's oldest and largest steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project.

"We will continue building the project in phases, making improvements with each one," spokeswoman Rhona DelFrari said.

Engineering on Phase F is already underway and preliminary ground work is expected to start soon.

Cenovus has its own construction management team, and the "cookie cutter" approach to the modules for each phase has resulted in industry-leading efficiencies.... Read more »

Back to nature a tricky task

FORT MCMURRAY - In the checkerboard of test ponds at Syncrude's wetland research site, Mother Nature has won some games and lost others.

Among the squares, there are certain ones with barely a sprig of green poking out from the silty water.

Other experimental combinations are more successful, though it takes a scientific eye to pick out the real winners. That's because the target is the recreation of a specific kind of wetland, called a fen. A fen is a wetland that is fed by groundwater, which is a heck of a thing to recreate in a landscape that was dug up extensively and then, in some cases, filled in with tailings.

Oilsands operations are increasingly striving to reach these milestones, partly because government is ordering them to do it in their approvals, but also because there is mounting pressure to improve the environmental image of oilsands development.... Read more »

Adjourn Tar Sands Hearings Says Sierra Club Prairie

FORT MCMURRAY, EDMONTON — The Panel reviewing the Total Joslyn North tar sands mine  should adjourn its hearings until a sustainability framework is prepared says Sierra Club Prairie.

“Total’s environmental assessment is completely inadequate, especially the assessment of cumulative effects of the Project” says Sheila Muxlow, director of Sierra Club Prairie .  “We support the adjournment request of the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition and urge the Panel to take some additional time to develop a sustainability framework that protects the ecosystems and communities in the Athabasca Region.”... Read more »

Sierra Club Intervention

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Sierra Club Prairie Submission Against Total Joslyn North Mine Application

The Sierra Club Prairie submission can be downloaded / viewed here

Sustainability Assessment by Stephen Hazell M.Sc. LL.B. can be downloaded / viewed here

An Assessment of Water Quality, Sediment Quality, Benthic Invertebrates, and Hydrology of the Joslyn North Mine Project can be downloaded / viewed here

 ... Read more »

Alberta looks to drum up support for oilsands

TORONTO - Alberta's looking for some friends across Canada as it tries to drum up support for its controversial oilsands.

During a stop in Toronto Monday, three prominent Alberta government ministers reminded Ontario it was there for the province when its auto sector was in trouble during the recent recession.

"So I know that if Ontario felt that we were genuinely under attack that there would be that some kind of support," International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Iris Evans said. "I can't imagine why not."

One study shows that over the next 25 years, Alberta's oilsands will generate more than 800,000 person years of work for Ontarians, she said.... Read more »


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