We seek to limit land use to the strict minimum necessary for our operations, and work to accelerate the reclamation process with solutions adapted to the specific characteristics of the boreal forest.
Site reclamation issues are taken into account from the project outset.
During site development and use, we take special care to set up environmental and biodiversity protection systems. For example, we design wildlife corridors to allow animals to move around and zigzag trails to allow caribou to escape detection by natural predators such as wolves.
We have developed particularly innovative solutions for :
- Reclaiming the future Joslyn North Mine
- Reducing the size of tailings ponds
- Quickly reforesting the site under the Faster Forests program
The Ongoing Joslyn North Mine Reclamation ProcessDiscover Joslyn North Mine reclamation process.
Reducing the Size of Tailings PondsDiscover Joslyn North Mine tailing management process.
Total is deploying innovative methods at the Joslyn North Mine to reduce the size of tailings ponds to one tenth of the conventional size. This approach will optimize water recycling and allow for gradual reclamation of the land within years, rather than decades.
Aimed to accelerate the reclamation cycle on oil sands production sites, this program grew out of best-practice sharing by five oil companies, including Total E&P Canada and ConocoPhillips. In traditional reclamation practice, grass is planted and trees then develop naturally over time. Taking into account recommendations from a study on reclamation by the University of Alberta, Conoco and Total decided to give forest growth a helping hand by planting spruce, birch and aspen seedlings at early stages. Plans are in place to add various species of native shrubs, as well as wild flowers, in future. Plant selection will be made in consultation with the First Nations in the Athabasca region.
Companies which joined the OSLI (Oil Sands Leadership Initiative), planted 170,000 seedlings in 2009, 247,000 in 2010 and plan to plant 1 million additional seedlings between 2011 and 2015.
Our approach draws on expertise from many sources, including the Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development (CONRAD). For example, the CONRAD Environmental and Reclamation Research Group (ERRG) is working on a series of studies to better understand boreal forest species and ecosystems and identify the most effective reclamation techniques to reduce environmental impacts.
We are also working with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) on projects relating to the monitoring and conservation of biodiversity in the region.
Source: OSLI (Oil Sands Leadership Initiative)