Project Research

The documents below relate to various interest areas that COSIA is involved in with external partners.

Prioritizing Zones for Caribou Habitat Restoration in the COSIA Area

Boreal caribou populations are declining across Alberta and much of their Canadian range. Key factors causing this decline include a warming climate along with habitat change from industrial exploration and development. Habitat restoration has the potential to play a major role in the recovery of boreal caribou populations, and restoration of linear features associated with industrial development is likely to be a primary component of Range Plans for most caribou ranges in Alberta.

There is a need to develop zones to prioritize habitat recovery within a working landscape, allowing optimal allocation of limited resources. To address this need in the northeast ranges of Alberta, COSIA initiated this project to assess a variety of important values and biophysical criteria that would support restoration efforts while achieving a working landscape, thus attempting to maintain both economic and ecological values. The primary goal of this project was to prioritize restoration in defined zones in such a way as to maximally benefit caribou habitat given the resources available, while maintaining a working landscape.

An Exploration of Conservation Breeding and Translocation Tools to improve the Conservation Status of Boreal Caribou Populations in Western Canada

Woodland caribou populations are declining and caribou are listed as "threatened" federally under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA) and provincially in many jurisdictions including Alberta. Unsustainable levels of predation, primarily on young calves, is widely recognized as the primary and proximate cause of decline throughout their range.

A multi-stakeholder workshop on caribou population augmentation tools was held in January 2016 and was attended by experts from the provincial and federal governments, environmental non-government organizations, academia, indigenous representatives, the energy sector and Zoo organizations. It was jointly hosted by the Calgary Zoo and facilitated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global organization that supports scientific research and develops cross-sectoral partnerships to foster nature conservation and species recovery.

Participants discussed the range of interventions and agreed that at least one conservation translocation technique (fencing, wild-to-wild translocation, captive breeding, maternal penning), or combination thereof, will be worthwhile pursuing to reduce the likelihood of extinction of at least one boreal caribou herd in Western Canada.

Unified Fines Method for minus 44 micron material and for Particle Size Distribution

A Fines Measurement Working Group (FMWG) consisting of industry practitioners was created by COSIA, and supported by personnel from the AER, to carry out and direct work to develop the standard method contained in this document. The mandate of this group, with input from AER, was to develop a technically accurate and effective method of measuring mineral solids less than 44 microns in size, with incidental benefit to overall particle size distribution.

Partners: COSIA
Category: Tailings
Linear Feature Restoration in Caribou Habitat: A summary of current practices and a roadmap for future programs

In the past several years, oil sands companies have initiated pilot projects to investigate the restoration of linear features. Efforts and intensity have varied between companies, with some initiating small restoration programs on lease and others initiating extensive programs off lease.

This report highlights current activities by COSIA companies, summarizes current practices into a ‘restoration toolbox’, proposes a planning framework to serve as a roadmap for future linear restoration programs, and then concludes with a series of future restoration planning recommendations.

Partners: Fuse Consulting
Category: Land
In-Situ Oil Sands Extraction Reclamation and Restoration Practices and Opportunities Compilation

The Reclamation and Restoration Practices and Opportunities Compilation document was prepared for Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) to provide a summary of the current knowledge and practices that are being employed for reclamation of in-situ oil sands extraction facilities (in-situ facilities) and identify knowledge gaps, shortcomings and areas of improvement which are referred to as opportunities.

Partners: Navus Environmental
Category: Land
Carbon Dioxide Conversion Technologies for Oil Sands Activities

The utilization of CO2 to make products including chemicals, fuels and solids, is transformational because it converts CO2 to value added products while reducing the net emission of CO2 from an operating facility. Few CO2 conversion technologies are in the commercial use with most being in the research and development stage. 

This study looks to understand the current state of knowledge on the different classes of technologies.



Category: GHG
Guidelines for Determining Oil Sands Fluid Tailings Volumes

This guideline sets out procedures for determining the volume of fluid tailings contained within tailings deposits. It is intended to provide guidance to operators of oil sands mines to meet the objective of controlling fluid tailings volumes to an approved plan consistent with the Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands (TMF).

Partners: COSIA
Category: Tailings
A Geostatistical Study, Workflow and Software Guide for Tailings Deposit

Estimation of fines and solids content in tailings oil sands deposits is imperative for tailings planning as well as reporting tailings inventory to the regulator. Data obtained from a finite number of sampling locations are the main source for estimating the quantity of fines and solids in the deposits. To date, the required number of sample locations or spacing to estimate tailings volume/mass with reasonable confidence is not well defined. The Geostatistics and sampling working group (GSWG) of Canada’s Oil Sand Innovation Alliance (COSIA) took over the task of defining the sample spacing for predicting tailings inventory with “reasonable confidence”. Development of a proper procedure for the engineering assessment of uncertainty in reported tailings mass/volume as a function of data spacing was the main objective of the task.

Partners: COSIA
Category: Tailings

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