Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan on Thursday announced a C$1.6-million investment for the development of an active clay analyser for the mining industry.
Led by the Saskatchewan Research Council, with Suncor Energy and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as partners, the project would develop technology to provide near real-time measurements of the active clay content in oil sands and mine tailings.
Project collaborators are also providing in-kind and financial contributions, bringing the overall project value to C$2.29-million.
Clay is naturally present in varying quantities within minerals deposits and presents a significant tailings management challenge. Near real-time measurements of clay concentrations will allow the companies to develop strategies for effective process control and tailings management options that can reduce the use of chemicals, resulting in savings on operations costs and reducing tailing deposit footprints.
A Natural Resources Canada statement notes that the technology is also applicable to different types of mines, such as diamond, potash and oil sands, and will have various environmental benefits, including improved water management and reduced land disturbance, leading to progressive reclamation of mine sites.
This project is funded through Natural Resources Canada's Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada's energy, mining and forest sectors. The programme is a C$155-million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.