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New Edition of Directive 085: Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects

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Release Date: October 12, 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. A draft version of the directive was released for feedback on January 19, 2017, and the feedback period closed on March 24, 2017. A summary of the feedback and the AER response is available on the directive’s webpage. We are now issuing a new edition of Directive 085.

Key changes in the draft directive are as follows:

  • Section 10 – Restructured and simplified section 10 to describe the fluid tailings management approach under the Government of Alberta’s Tailings Management Framework (TMF), without duplicating the Integrated Compliance Assurance Framework and Manual 013: Compliance and Enforcement Program. This section focuses on managing tailings performance through performance evaluation, management responses, proactively identifying the potential for threshold exceedance and noncompliance, and annual reporting.
  • Section 11 – Focused public education and awareness and the AER’s commitment to work with the oil sands industry, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders on enhancing Albertans’ understanding of operator’s fluid tailings management reports and the annual report issued by the AER.
  • Section 12 – Renamed to align with the TMF and removed duplication. This section addresses the Government of Alberta’s expectation that the AER review tailings management plans every five years or as necessary 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.

Directive 085 is available on the AER website at Printed copies of the directive 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 2); fax: 403-297-7040; email: @email.

<original signed by>

Mark Taylor
Executive Vice President
Operations Division