As regulatory requirements for tailings management continue to tighten, the major players in the Canadian oil sands industry face significant challenges in reducing the amount of tailings they generate during bitumen extraction and in reclaiming the large volumes of tailings that already exist on their sites.
Tailings management projects are increasingly capital intensive with no direct return on investment. At the request of several clients, Independent Project Analysis (IPA) launched a study to determine a benchmarking methodology for these unique projects and to investigate the drivers of cost and schedule in tailings management capital investments.
Since July 2014, IPA has collected data on a sample of tailings management projects from three key oil sands operators. We are currently processing the analysis and will finalize the study in early 2015.