Time flies in the blink of an eye. So fast, in fact, that it’s hard to believe that in 2021 we are celebrating two milestone anniversaries for our mines at Base Plant in northern Alberta.
This year marks 20 years of mining at Millennium and 10 years at North Steepbank Extension (NSE).  

The oil sands industry is constantly evolving, and   the innovative ideas from our skilled workers are the reasons for our continued success.  

“It’s the innovation that our people have brought to Suncor,” said Burman Weber, Manager Operations NSE. “In the last 20 years we have opened two more mines at Base Plant to extract a resource that has shaped the community, our province and country. Over the years, we have continuously improved our environmental performance and finding ways to make our operations more economical, thanks  to our people, past and present..” 

 As we reflect on these years some pretty incredible moments stand out in our journey such as when Ed Portugie, senior shovel operator, sent the first load of ore from North Steepbank Extension when it opened in 2011. Or, in the same year, when Shawn Funk uncovered a 112-million-year-old nodosaur dinosaur at the Millennium mine. Or when we introduced the Autonomous Haulage Systems (AHS), in 2018, the first application of AHS vehicles in soft rock mining using wireless communication and perceptive technologies.

While reminiscing about his last 20 years with Suncor, Ed said, “when I reflect on my time in the mine, it’s the memories of the challenges we faced and conquered together that come to mind. The progress we made wouldn’t be possible without the skill and dedication of the team. It’s the people you work with that make it memorable.”  

Without our innovative spirit, the Suncor of today wouldn’t exist. 

Our path forward   

The future of mining is reliant on our transformation journey. As we move forward, our focus is on our people, creating an engaging, productive workplace, creating value from data, and securing our future through digital technologies where mining is a crucial part of our operation and overall success.

In the mines, we are using technology and tools that will enable data collection and access to make it easier, and safer, for mining employees to do their jobs. It’s exciting to see what our future has in store with the implementation of new technologies and innovation mining solutions.

Kudos to the mining teams at Base Plant for your dedication and willingness to try new things. Thank you for being shining examples of living our purpose, to provide trusted energy that enhances people’s lives, while caring for each other and the earth.