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2017 Conference Abstracts

2017 Conference Abstracts



Novel Drag Reducing Agents for Oil Sands Industry

Author: Marc Mogul, Morgan Tizzotti and Trong Dang-Vu
Organization: SNF Inc. w. Sycrude Research

New drag reducer additives, specifically designed for the oil sands industry, have demonstrated 30% friction reduction at dosages as low as 50PPM despite suspended mineral particles. Moreover, test work indicates that residual polymer in the process water does not affect bitumen recovery rate during flotation nor flocculent efficiency during tailings treatment operations. This new range of products are therefore fully compatible with existing equipment used in oil sands mining operations and could significantly reduce the cost of hydraulic transport throughout the plant.


Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects

Author: Stacy MacDonald and Mayumi Murabayashi
Organization: AER

An overview of the fluid tailings management regulatory framework in Alberta and the new regulatory requirements developed by the AER to implement the Government of Alberta’s Lower Athabasca Region: Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands.



Evaluating Dust Suppressants on Mine Haul Roads

Author: D. Omane, W.V. Liu Ph.D. and Y. Pourrahimian
Organization: University of Alberta

Dust generated from haul roads poses a severe health and safety threat to mine sites. One solution is to add chemical suppressant to water in mine sites. Despite many practical applications, there is a need for simple testing methods to assess the performance of various chemical suppressants. The objective of this study is to establish a simple testing method and use it to investigate the effectiveness of chemical suppressants applied on mine haul road dust. In this study, water and selected chemical surfactants were tested under this simple method for their dust retention efficiency. It is concluded that this new but simple method can distinguish the effectiveness of chemical suppressants, and it can be easily used by engineers or operators in the mining industry.


Estimation of Oil Sands Process Variables Using X-ray Fluorescence

Author: Min Zhang Ph.D., Ted Garver and Darcy Daugela
Organization: Innotech and Syncrude

Ore grade, fines content, clay content, and methylene blue index are key parameters of the water-based bitumen extraction process at oil sands surface operations. Good estimates of these process variables are important for determining ore blending strategies and optimizing caustic addition rate to improve operational efficiency. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry was studied as a method to estimate the oil sands process variables. XRF provides rapid analysis of elemental concentrations. Multiple elements can be analyzed simultaneously at the concentrations ranging from near 100% to the ppm level. In this study, twelve samples from the Athabasca oil sands were examined. These samples were of various types, including ores and wastes of both estuarine and marine origins. The bitumen content varied from 4.5 to 13.8%. There was also a large variation in the fines and clay contents. Quartz was the dominant mineral, and clay minerals consisted primarily of kaolinite and illite. A benchtop XRF unit was used in this study. The peak intensities of 28 elements were determined from XRF spectra. Statistical analysis showed strong inter-relationships between Al, K, Ti, Rb, Ga, Y, Th, Pb, Zn, and S. These elements were well correlated with the process variables. Although each of these elements can be used to indicate the process variables, it is advantageous to use a suite of elements collectively. To further improve the accuracy of prediction, process variable models were built through multiple linear regression analysis. The predicted values agreed well with the laboratory measurements. It should be pointed out that good correlations between the process variables and XRF elemental concentrations observed in this study were based on a limited number of samples. Oil sands mineralogy and the related process variables are known to vary greatly across the Athabasca oil sands deposit. Extensive sampling and analyses are required at each mine site to build site-specific models. Using these models, the elemental concentrations measured by XRF can be used to provide good estimates of ore grade and clay parameters.


A General Guide to Screening Optimization

Author: Anthony Yell
Organization: TEMA Isennmann

There are numerous causes for screen poor efficiency. This paper highlights a couple of the major causes and gives solutions on how to overcome them. The Presentation will focus on following areas: Screen Stroke &amp, G-Force, The effect of feed moisture content, Pegging &amp, Blinding Solutions, Feed Chute Solutions, Screen Media Solutions.


Clays: Little particles – Huge impact on oil sands mining

Author: Heather Kaminski
Organization: NAIT

Fines (particles less than 44 microns) are widely acknowledged to cause challenges in oil sands mining. Most of the challenges associated with fines can really be attributed to clays and their surface area. This presentation will provide a briefing on the challenges of clays in oil sands. This will include:
– The difference between fines and clays
– How clays are measured
– Where clays occur
– How clays distribute during the process
– How clays impact bitumen recovery
– How clays impact tailings treatment & generation of FFT
– How clays impact froth treatment.


Exceeding the Boundaries of a Polishing Filter with the Walnut Shell Filter

Author: Bill Bloomfield
Organization: Wawashkesh Sales Agencies Ltd.

There are many applications where the filter has operated at 99% removal on concentrations around 200ppm and higher. The filter has been able to recover from upsets when the inlet concentration has been in the percentages. The filters capability has allowed it to operate downstream of cone bottom clarifiers, such as lime softeners and tanks. The filter could be utilized to clean tailings water after clarifiers, or after the FWKO in SAGD operations.


Conveying Excellence Throught Creative Innovation

Author: Bill Fairhall
Organization: Infinity Belting


Key learning outcomes and relevance to sand and gravel industry now and in the future.
The Finger Scraper System was created after identifying a need in the sand and gravel industry to provide a conveyor belt cleaner that works effectively and efficiently on cleated conveyor belts. What we want everyone to take away from our presentation is that a conveyor belt cleaner has been developed and designed with:
 No ridged pinch points
 No damage to conveyor belts
 Clean cleated and non-cleated belts
 Can be hooded for dust collection
 Urethane fingers flick and scrape
 Easy installation and conversion
 Easily inspected from the ground
 Auto-aligns to conveyor belts
Please Note: We would expand on the above points during our presentation.

We would then go over the Features and Benefits of the Finger Scraper (using a visual of the flyer so that we could go over the specific points for the general assembly).

In conclusion, The Finger Scraper system provides industries in Alberta, as well as in BC, Saskatchewan and now with our distributorship in the USA, with a viable alternative to existing conveyor belt cleaning technology


Advances in water separation from lime treated oil sands fine fluid tailings

Author: Nikolas Romaniuk
Organization: Graymont

The treatment of fine tailings poses a significant challenge for oil sands mining operators to achieve reclamation targets mandated by Alberta Energy Regulator in Directive 85. The fine tailings prove difficult to dewater and consequently stabilize as a fluid deposit with a solids content of 25 to 40% by weight. The resistance to dewatering is a consequence of the high clay content of the fluid fine tailings
(FFT), which swell with water and sodium that is introduced during bitumen extraction. Lime, acting as a coagulant, can alter clay properties through chemical reactions on clay surfaces, which promote dewatering, increase particle size, and reduce the clay’s plasticity index. Lime can react with clays through either surface modification by ion-exchange or chemical stabilization by pozzolanic reactions, depending on the lime dose. Both reaction mechanisms require the hydration and dissolution of lime and diffusion to the clay surfaces, which can be achieved most effectively by introducing lime as a slurry that is a maximum 5% lime solids by weight in water. While lime appears very effective at promoting dewatering on clay surfaces, separation of water out of the bulk FFT requires the application of pressure, such as by pressure filtration. Current pressure filtration studies demonstrate that lime can dewater FFT to between 68 to 80% solids content and achieve separation of water at a faster rate when compared to polymer treatments. The results of these studies suggest that pressure filtration can aid the separation of water from lime treated tailings, which could provide a path to produce dry stackable tailings.


Environmental Aspects of Polyelectrolytes

Author: Dr. Sheri L. Blystone
Organization: SNF Inc.

Synthetic flocculants and coagulants have been safely used for decades in a wide variety of applications including drinking water purification, wastewater treatment, enhanced oil recovery, papermaking (including paper for food-contact applications), soil stabilization, mineral processing, and even cosmetics. With the increase in regulations and focus on environmental impact it’s important to understand environmental fate and effects of cationic flocculants and other synthetic polyelectrolytes during use. The major characteristic of these materials is their propensity to adsorb instantaneously and irreversibly to suspended and dissolved matter. Adsorption results in an insoluble adduct which is removed from the water phase. This paper describes the results of toxicity testing and environmental safety of polyelectrolytes.


Water Hammer in Slurry Pipelines

Author: Dawn Yu
Organization: Syncrude

Aurora Train 3 Hydrotransport (HT) line experienced numerous rupture disc failures and near misses and each rupture disc failure usually caused 3 to 4 hours production loss on the train. Water hammer (or transient) was identified as the cause of these rupture disc failures. Vacuum breakers were installed on the slurry line and pressure control was modified to prevent rupture disc failures. These measurements have been proven effective.


Understanding the Interactions and Stability of Emulsions in the presence of Asphaltenes

Author: Ling Zhang, Chen Shi, Hongbo Zeng
Organization: University Of Alberta

The molecular interactions and interfacial behaviours of asphaltenes are closely related to many challenging issues in oil production, for example, the stabilization of water-in- oil (W/O) and oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions. A better understanding of the molecular interactions of asphaltenes at oil/water is of both fundamental and practical importance. In this work, the stability betweenwater drops in toluene with asphaltenes at interfaces was characterized by the micropipette and the surface interactions between asphaltene surfaces were measured using the surface forces apparatus (SFA) in heptol (mixture of toluene and heptane) solvent. It was found that the asphaltenes at water/oil interfaces inhibited the coalescence of water drops which was due to the steric force between asphaltenes in toluene confirmed by the pure repulsion measured between asphaltene surfaces. A 4-roll mill fluidic device was built in-house to investigate the interaction
of free-suspending W/O emulsions under dynamic flow condition which demonstrated that interfacial sliding or or shearing is generally required to destabilize the protective interfacial asphaltene layers which facilitates the coalescence of emulsion drops. Moreover, the atomic
force microscope (AFM) droplet probe technique was developed and applied to quantitatively study the interaction mechanisms between W/O emulsion drops with interfacially adsorbed asphaltenes. Adhesion was measured between emulsion drops and was significantly affected by the asphaltene concentration and solvent types. The interactions between O/W emulsions were also quantified by the AFM droplet probe technique. The negatively charged asphaltenes at oil/water interfaces enhanced the repulsion between emulsion drops which was substantially impacted by the solution conditions, such as pH, salinity and divalent ions (Ca 2+ ). It was found lowering the solution pH could weaken the repulsion between emulsion drops and the addition of Ca 2+ could induce the coalescence of the drops. Our results provide new insights into the stabilization/destabilization mechanisms of W/O and O/W emulsions due to asphaltenes in oil production. The methodologies can be readily applied to probe the intermolecular and surface interactions in the many processes in oil production