Tailings Environmental Priority Area Update

In-Place Electro Kinetic Treatment of Tailings

Shell explores a new technology that uses electric currents to dewater fluid fine tailings.

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Jonathan Matthews

Jonathan Matthews
Director, Tailings EPA

2015 was an especially challenging business year. The priority for the Tailings EPA was to ensure our members derived as much benefit as is practical from the current suite of technologies into which companies have already invested billions of dollars.

This meant working together to refine the technologies to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible through the sharing of knowledge and best practices. As part of this, we set up a joint working group to coordinate the work members in the Tailings EPA are doing to dewater tailings with the work the members of the Land EPA are doing to use those materials for reclamation. The objective was to demonstrate clearly that tailings deposits will be successfully reclaimed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

We also worked with our members to reprioritize and refine our opportunity areas and gaps to ensure our members and Associate Members have the insights they need to understand the solutions we are looking for. The desired outcome is a balanced technology portfolio that drives continuous improvement in the established and emerging technologies, while still seeking tailings technology opportunities with “game-changing” potential. This was hard work, but it was worth it to be able to share this work at the Associate Member annual meeting and at the 2015 COSIA Performance Update.