Why is in situ better option than mining?
More efficient water usage: In-situ operations use water for steam production, which is mostly recovered and recycled back into the process plant. Fresh water consumption rates are therefore much lower than mining operations, which require large volumes of water to slurry the oil sands.
What is in situ mining/oil sands?
In Situ comes from the latin term meaning “in position” or “on site” and refers to the oil sands technologies used to recover bitumen that lies too deep beneath the surface to be mined (more than 75 meters deep) and too viscous to flow on its own.
What is the difference between surface mining and in situ or SAGD?
The choice of whether a deposit is developed through mining or in-situ is determined by mother nature. If the bitumen deposit is near the surface, the oil sands is mined and sent to a bitumen processing plant. But for deposits that are deep below the surface, bitumen is extracted in-situ.
Is in situ better for the environment?
In fact, proponents of in situ development increasingly assert that it has considerably lower environmental impacts than mine-based production and are trying to distance it from the oil sands mining sector.
How does in situ mining impact the environment?
The most relevant environmental risk associated with ISR is the contamination of groundwater. During ISR, a solution is injected into an aquifer (closed area that holds water) to extract uranium from the underlying rock, which is then brought to the surface to be processed.
How does in situ mining work?
In-situ leach mining involves pumping of a lixiviant into the ore body via a borehole, which circulates through the porous rock dissolving the ore and is extracted via a second borehole. For copper, acids are generally needed to enhance solubility of the ore minerals within the solution.
What is in situ drilling?
In in situ recovery, wells are drilled to extract an extra-heavy type of oil called bitumen. Some bitumen is too “viscous,” or dense, to flow to the well on its own. Most in situ bitumen recovery uses steam to heat the bitumen in the reservoir. This is known as thermal in situ recovery.
What is SAGD oil sands?
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. The hydrocarbon resource found in Canada’s oil sands is called bitumen.
What is situ extraction?
In-situ extraction methods are used to recover bitumen that lies too deep beneath the surface for mining (greater than 75 metres underground). Currently, 80% of oil sands reserves are accessible via in-situ techniques. Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) is currently the most widely used in-situ recovery method.
Is bitumen bad for the environment?
Bitumen has claims to be one of the most environmentally friendly crude oil products. The substance is environmentally friendly because it is not burned, therefore no co2 emissions go into the air. Another positive of Bitumen is that is can be recycled and reused, one of the best ways to be green.
Is in situ leaching bad for the environment?
Moreover, in-situ leaching releases considerable amounts of radon, and produces certain amounts of waste slurries and waste water during recovery of the uranium from the liquid. In the case of Königstein (Germany), a total of 100,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid was injected with the leaching liquid into the ore deposit.
What happens with in situ mining of uranium?
In situ leaching (ISL), also known as solution mining, or in situ recovery (ISR) in North America, involves leaving the ore where it is in the ground, and recovering the minerals from it by dissolving them and pumping the pregnant solution to the surface where the minerals can be recovered.
How are oil sands developed mining or in situ?
The choice of whether a deposit is developed through mining or in-situ is determined by mother nature. If the bitumen deposit is near the surface, the oil sands is mined and sent to a bitumen processing plant.
What’s the difference between in situ and surface mining?
Smaller footprint: The surface area required for the wellheads and central processing plant is very small relative to the size of the oil sands deposit. In-situ facilities therefore have a much smaller footprint than surface mining operations. In-situ plants require about 1/7th the land area of an equivalent-sized mining facility.
Where can bitumen be extracted from the oil sands?
However, bitumen can only be extracted in-situ if the oil sands deposit is deep below the surface. Most in-situ deposits lie at least 200 meters below grade.
Why are oil sands mines so expensive to build?
Oil sands mines are massive in size and very expensive to build, making it accessible to only the largest of energy companies with deep pockets. Thermal in-situ extraction of bitumen was first pioneered by Imperial Oil in the 1980s, but recovery rates were painfully low.