Mildred Lake Extension Project and Mildred Lake Tailings Management Plan

by aanationtalk on July 17, 201945 Views

2019 ABAER 006
Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Mildred Lake Extension Project and Mildred Lake Tailings Management Plan

Applications 1820856, 034-00000026, 001-00363203, 005-00263298, MSL170423, MSL170430, MSL352; and Tailings Management Plan

Decision

[1] The panel finds the Syncrude Ltd. Mildred Lake Extension project is in the public interest. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) therefore approves, subject to conditions made by the hearing panel and which are contained in the approvals attached to this report:

  • Oil Sands Conservation Act (OSCA) Application No. 1820856 to construct, operate and reclaim the Syncrude MLX project. Syncrude is required to comply with the terms of the approval during the life cycle of the MLX project.
  • Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) application No. 034-00000026 to construct, operate and reclaim the Mildred Lake Extension project. Syncrude is required to comply with the terms of this approval during the life of the project.
  • Water Act applications No. 005-00263298 and No. 001-00363203 for activities and the diversion and use of water for the MLX project. Syncrude is required to comply with the terms of this approval and licence during the life of the project.
  • Public Lands Act application (MSL 352) to amend an existing mineral surface lease. The panel requires Syncrude to comply with the Public Lands approval (disposition) during the life of the project.

[2] With respect to Public Lands Act applications MSL 170423 and MSL 170430, the panel cannot approve those applications. This is because an assessment of the adequacy of the Crown’s consultation with Aboriginal peoples respecting these applications has not been provided to the panel. This is the case despite the panel’s conclusion that those applications meet all of the applicable requirements and that the impacts of these dispositions will be mitigated by various conditions imposed by the panel. MSL 170423 and MSL 170430 are remitted back to the AER. Consultation was not required with regard to MSL 352.

[3] We find that several elements of Syncrude’s Tailings Management Plan do not meet the intent of Directive 085: Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects. Syncrude is required to submit to AER for approval an updated Tailings Management Plan on or before January 31, 2023. The updated Tailings Management Plan must be aligned with the intent of the Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Oil Sands (TMF) and Directive 085 and must address the issues raised by the panel in this decision report.

[4] To reach these decisions, we considered all relevant materials on the record of this proceeding, including the evidence and argument provided by Syncrude and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. Accordingly, references in this decision to specific parts of the record are intended to help the reader understand our reasoning on a particular matter and do not mean that we did not consider all relevant parts of the record with respect to that matter.

Download Mildred Lake Extension Project and Mildred Lake Tailings Management Plan

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