Bacon and Eggheads

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This flagship series brings together Parliamentarians with experts in science and engineering, showcasing outstanding Canadian research accomplishments. Its purpose is to provide unbiased insight into topical scientific issues, within a non-partisan forum. This prestigious forum represents a unique opportunity for scientists to communicate important findings to a distinguished and influential audience.

The series is organized by PAGSE, an umbrella group of 25 + science and engineering organizations operating under the auspices of the Royal Society, and is supported by NSERC.

Trading Water for Oil - Tailings Management in Surface-Mined Oil Sands


Randy Mikula, Natural Resources Canada

About 12 barrels of water are needed to produce each barrel of bitumen from surface mined oil sands. Most of this water can be recycled, but a significant portion forms a mud-like suspension called fluid fine tailings. These tailings are stored in above ground containment areas, many of which are large enough to be visible from space. Current proposals would see these tailings pumped back into the mined-out area and covered with water to create an artificial lake. While this form of reclamation seems economical, its long term effectiveness and environmental sustainability is largely unproven. This presentation will discuss the progress that researchers and industry are making in dealing with the accumulation of tailings and in developing alternative management options that would lead to dry stackable tailings and improved water recovery.

Dr. Randy Mikula is a team leader at Natural Resources Canada's CANMET Energy Technology Centre in Devon Alberta, where he has worked for more than 20 years researching oil sands processing fundamentals from extraction to tailings behaviour. For the last decade his interests have focused on mitigating the environmental impact of surface mining. He was elected as a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada in 2003.

This is the second of two talks that PAGSE is offering this fall in relation to research challenges for the oil sands.

Organized by: The Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE)

Sponsored by:

--the Speaker of the Senate
--the Speaker of the House of Commons
--Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2007 from 7:30 am - 9:00 am
Place: Room 200, West Block, Parliament Hill
Cost: No charge to Members of the House of Commons, Senators and Media. All others $15
Registration: Please register by contacting Donna Boag, PAGSE Coordinator: 613-991-6369,
Registration Deadline: Monday November 26th