Tailings Management

TailingsWe aspire to transform tailings from waste into a resource that speeds land and water reclamation.


COSIA’s Tailings Environmental Priority Area (EPA) is focused on improving the management of oil sands tailings. Tailings are the sand, silt, clay and water found naturally in oil sands that remain following the mining and bitumen extraction process.

Working with universities, government and research institutes, other companies and partners, the Tailings EPA is bringing together the shared experience, expertise and financial commitment of oil sands mining companies to find new technologies and solutions to tailings. COSIA is the overarching collaborative hub within which companies set priorities, drive and share innovation and accelerate the pace of environmental performance improvements.

tailings technology

The Tailings EPA has identified key issues facing the industry and is working to address the following:

  • the accumulation of fluid fine tailings (FFT) within tailings ponds through the development of new and improved tailings management technologies;
  • treatment of process affected water, the water which remains once the FFT are removed; and
  • accelerating the reclamation of the resulting tailings deposits so that they can be incorporated into the final reclaimed landscape.

COSIA and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions (AI-EES) recently released a Tailings Technology Roadmap and Action Plan Project, a collaboration that also involved Alberta EnergyNatural Resources CanadaAlberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board.  This plan provides a comprehensive review of technologies that will help industry identify a suite of actions that will accelerate the development of new and improved commercial tailings treatment technologies.

Open source innovation

COSIA's Innovation Opportunities provide focused, actionable descriptions of the current state of opportunities related to environmental processes and impacts of the oil sands industry. Case Studies include everything from theoretical papers to lab tests to field trials and everything in between. In Research, you'll find considerable resources in academic literature research, laboratory research and environmental studies.

Collaborate with us

Our Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP) provides an effective means to tap into the global environmental sector for solutions to current and future technology gaps and opportunities. If you have a technology idea you would like to submit on a non-confidential basis to COSIA for consideration then we invite you to submit your idea.