The Voyageur South Mine is targeted to replace existing feed from Suncor’s North Steepbank Extension mine when it is depleted. The mine is expected to produce up to 250,000 barrels per day of bitumen during its estimated 28-year operational life.
The proposed project will include soil stockpiling followed by mining operations, as well as ore preparation, primary extraction facilities, tailings management, and related pipeline, power line and road infrastructure. Progressive reclamation will occur over time. The Voyageur South Mine takes advantage of utilities integration, re-use of existing facilities and tailings storage opportunities at Suncor’s base mine operations.
The Voyageur South Mine lease is located north of the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The proposed mine footprint is approximately three kilometers from the Fort McMurray city limit and about five kilometres from the nearest existing residential development. Suncor will work closely with the municipality and residents regarding any issues associated with the proposed project.
An integrated application for the Voyageur South Mine is expected to be submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by 2018. Timelines for possible construction and first production are currently being evaluated. By current estimates, the earliest production could begin is in the late 2020s.
Oil sand is a mixture of bitumen, sand and water. Because it does not flow like conventional crude oil, it must be mined or heated underground before it can be processed. Our oil sands business recovers bitumen through surface mining and steam injection technologies and upgrades it into refinery-ready crude oil products.
The Voyageur South Mine will be an open pit mine and will employ the best available oil sands development practices.
We use large trucks and shovels to extract the oil sands. Only 20% of all oil sands are close enough to the surface to be mined.
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As Suncor prepares for the future, the community continues to be an important part of responsible development.
Suncor will provide stakeholders with opportunities to participate in an open and transparent consultation process that facilitates engagement, participation and input into the proposed Voyageur South Mine. Information about the project, including upcoming open houses and other updates, will be posted in local newspapers, through community bulletins and by other means.
We are listening and communicating directly and openly with Aboriginal communities about events, issues and ideas.
An important part of this will be updating existing Traditional Land Use and Traditional Ecological Knowledge by consulting with Aboriginal communities.
We will work closely with Aboriginal communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo throughout this process, seeking to build effective, long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.
The Voyageur South Mine will be an open pit mine and will employ the best available oil sands development practices. We are committed to meeting our requirements to reclaim all lands disturbed as part of our oil sands developments.
The Voyageur South mining areas will be cleared and disturbed in a staged manner to minimize environmental disturbance over time. Soils will be salvaged and stockpiled for future use and progressive reclamation such as planting locally-common trees and shrubs will take place when opportunities arise.
As with all of our projects, Suncor intends to use best practices to minimize land disturbance whenever possible. The Voyageur South Mine application will include a conservation, closure and reclamation plan.
Oil sands mines produce tailings – sands and fines left over from the extraction process that separates bitumen from the mineral material. We recognize the importance of addressing the tailings challenge associated with development of Suncor oil sands projects. Suncor will use various tailings technologies to achieve tailings reclamation.
Suncor works with government, industry and community groups to develop a coordinated, long-term approach to address social and economic effects of oil sands development.
Suncor’s investment in the proposed Voyageur South Mine project will benefit nearby communities through:
- employment opportunities
- promotion of economic growth and business development
- valuable revenues for governments
- education and training
- community investment