Institute for Oil Sands Innovation (IOSI)

Clay Mineralogy in the Oil Sands

In order to identify extraction technology that uses less, or no, water, and which creates fewer challenges with tailing ponds, we must better understand the clay minerals that affect or thwart these goals.

Clay minerals affect water chemistry, efficiency of bitumen extraction, heavy mineral concentration from froth treatment tailings and the settling of tailing ponds. Presently, only limited knowledge exists about the ultra fine particles found in the watery residue left after bitumen has been extracted.

All necessary equipment and samples have been procured. With these resources, we hope to further our understanding of the minerals within tailing ponds so that ultimately we can reduce water usage in the extraction process.

Principal Investigator: Tom Etsell
Research Team: Doug Ivey, Qi Liu, Ali Hooshiar, Alek Derkowski, Alyssa Shinbine, Peter Uhlik

Project Number: COSI 2006-02
Close Date: June 30, 2010

Ali Hooshiar, Peter Uhlik and Patrick Kerr with the thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA).

Tom Etsell
University of Alberta