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Invitation for Feedback on Draft Revision of Directive 085: Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects

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Release Date: January 19, 2017


The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) released Directive 085: Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects on July 14, 2016, and committed to releasing an updated version of the directive in 2017. The AER is inviting public feedback on the updated draft directive.

To update the directive, the AER reconvened the original multistakeholder technical advisory committee (TAC), which is made up of representatives from the oil sands industry, environmental nongovernmental organizations, First Nations, Métis, the Municipality of Wood Buffalo, and the AER.

The key changes in the draft directive are as follows:

  • Section 10 – Added wording to ensure consistency with Integrated Compliance Assurance Framework (ICAF), Manual 13: Compliance and Enforcement Program, and the Government of Alberta’s Tailings Management Framework. This section focuses on managing tailings performance through annual reporting and proactively identifying the potential for threshold exceedance and noncompliance.
  • Section 11– Added new section on public education and awareness, which sets out the AER’s commitment to work with the oil sands industry, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders to enhance Albertans’ understanding of fluid tailings management and progress towards reclamation outcomes.
  • Section 12 – Addressed the Government of Alberta’s expectation that the AER review tailings management plans every five years to ensure that the tailings profiles and thresholds align with projections and reflect current technology, new knowledge, and continuous improvement.

Administrative changes have been made to the other sections to ensure consistent terminology.

The draft directive is available on the AER website at under Rules & Directives > Directives > Draft / Open for Comment. Printed copies can be purchased from AER Order Fulfillment, Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 0R4; telephone: 403-297-8311 or 1-855-297-8311 (toll free; option 0); fax: 403-297-7040; email: @email.

Feedback or questions on proposed revisions should be sent by email to @email. A comment form is available on the Directive 085 page of the AER website. Feedback will be accepted until March 24, 2017.

All feedback received will be reviewed by the AER and TAC members and may be used in finalizing the directive. All of the comments provided through this consultation will form part of the public record, and any comment received may also be attributed to the specific individuals providing it. Personal information provided with comments will be collected, used, and disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. We may use the personal contact information you provide to follow up with you regarding your feedback.

<original signed by>
Cal Hill
Executive Vice President
Strategy & Regulatory Division