The Base Mine Extension project is being considered to sustain the supply of bitumen to the Base Plant facilities as the resources in the current mines are depleted.
The project includes an open pit mining operation supplying oil sands to new bitumen froth production facilities, from which bitumen froth will be delivered by pipeline to Suncor’s existing Base Plant facilities where further processing occurs including upgrading into various product blends for market. The project will integrate with existing water, power, heat, fuel utilities and use existing approved secondary extraction and upgrading facilities at Base Plant.
It is expected to produce up to 225,000 barrels per day of bitumen froth during its estimated 25-year operational life.
The project is in the early stages of development and the schedule is subject to change. The project summary table and initial project description have been submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, respectively. The project application and impact statement are expected to be submitted in 2021. If approved, construction is anticipated to begin in 2026 and take four to five years to complete. Bitumen froth production is expected to start in late 2030.
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Base Mine Extension project schedule (planned)
This project is an open pit mine and Suncor plans to employ the best available oil sands development practices.
Ore is mined with large mine shovels and transported by mine trucks to the ore preparation plant where the ore is crushed and mixed with warm process water. The resultant slurry is transported by pipeline to the primary extraction plant. Bitumen froth – the product of primary extraction – is transported to Base Plant for further processing into value added products. Water, sand, clay and residual hydrocarbons left over after extraction are placed in sand dumps and tailings ponds. As mining activities are completed, disturbed areas are reclaimed.
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Suncor provides stakeholders with opportunities to participate in an open and transparent consultation process that facilitates engagement, participation and input into this project.
Information about the project, including upcoming open houses and other updates, will be posted on the Suncor website, in local newspapers, through community bulletins and by other means.
Suncor is committed to communicating directly and openly with Indigenous communities to identify and address questions and concerns.
Suncor will continue to engage and consult with Indigenous communities throughout the life of the project. Future engagement activities will vary depending on the nature and extent of impacts on communities, and how individual communities want to be engaged. Engagement may include open houses, on-the-land workshops, community meetings and technical meetings.
Suncor will continue to engage with Indigenous peoples, seek to identify specific impacts to economic, social and health conditions and ensure that they are incorporated into ongoing assessment work and planning for the project.
At current operations, and as much as possible at Base Mine Extension, Suncor minimizes impact to land in the boreal region by:
- continuing scientific research and utilizing the resulting best management practices,
- minimizing the total land disturbance required for the project
- Disturbed areas are reclaimed progressively in a staged manner during operations.
Suncor’s focus for air quality management is centered on air emissions (pollutants and greenhouse gases) and odours, and we are committed to maintaining and improving air quality near all of our operations.
Suncor has a GHG goal to reduce GHG intensity by 30% by 2030. We are focusing on the following areas to achieve our GHG emissions goal:
- continue to drive energy efficiency at all our facilities, and where opportunities exist, switch to lower-carbon fuels such as natural gas;
- develop and pilot technology to fundamentally change how we extract bitumen and optimize downstream processing
Water management is critical to Suncor, neighbouring Indigenous communities and to our stakeholders. It is also crucial to achieve our vision and commitments for faster reclamation and mine closure.
Our use of water is guided by water stewardship principles that focus on:
- water conservation
- reuse and recycle
- return of treated wastewater to the watershed
These stewardship principles will be extended to Base Mine Extension.
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 project will benefit nearby communities, the Province, and Canada through:
- employment opportunities
- promotion of economic growth and business development
- continued use of existing oil sands processing facilities
- creating value from Canada’s oil sands resources
- fostering opportunities to implement innovations that are currently being developed and enabling ongoing investment in research and development
- valuable revenues for governments
- education and training
- community investment