Tag Archives: oil sands

Canada invests in Suncor-backed clay content analyser project for mining sector

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, has announced a C$1.6 million ($1.2 million) investment in the development of an analyser able to provide near real-time measurements of the active clay content in oil sands and mine tailings.

The project, led by the Saskatchewan Research Council with Suncor Energy Inc and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as partners, could prove beneficial to Canada’s diamond, potash and oil sands sectors.

On top of the Federal Government’s funding, through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, the project collaborators are also providing in-kind and financial contributions, bringing the overall project value to C$2.29 million.

Clay is naturally present in varying quantities within minerals deposits and presents a significant tailings management challenge. The clay analyser will assist in near real-time measurements of clay concentrations, which will allow the companies to develop strategies for effective process control and tailings management options that can reduce the use of chemicals, resulting in operating cost savings and reducing tailing deposit footprints.

The technology is also applicable to different types of mines, such as diamond, potash and oil sands, and will have various environmental benefits, including improved water management and reduced land disturbance, leading to progressive reclamation of mine sites, the government said.

Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a C$155 million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

(photo: Suncor Energy’s oil sands)

GIW’s TBC-92 making a big name for itself in Canada oil sands sector

When it comes to pumping slurry, there can be very few applications that are more challenging than the hydro-transport of heavy duty slurries in oil sands production.* Not only do the pumps have to contend with the highly aggressive nature of the fluid being pumped, they are also expected to operate in some of the harshest environments in the world.

In January 2020, GIW Industries commissioned its largest ever heavy duty centrifugal slurry pump for operation in Canada’s oil sands, namely the TBC (Tie Bolt Construction)-92. Named after its 92-inch (2,337 mm) impeller, the TBC-92 is the largest and heaviest slurry pump available in the oil sands industry and emerges as the latest in a line of powerful high-pressure pumps offered by GIW (Fig.1).

Slurry transportation

Fig.1

In mining, dredging and oil sands production the biggest challenge is to accommodate high density slurry and highly abrasive grits. It is essential that the slurry passes through the pump with the minimum amount of wear to the pump casing, impeller, shaft and sealing mechanism. Furthermore, they must be capable of delivering high flows and withstanding harsh operating environments.

The province of Alberta, Canada, has the world’s third largest oil reserves and these are in the form of oil sands.

Extracting and processing the oil from the sands and bed rock is a challenging process involving the removal of bituminous ore to be transported to a crushing plant. The crushed ore is then mixed with warm water to form dense slurry that can be transported in the pipeline toward extraction, where the bitumen is separated from the sand and rock. After extraction, the remaining solids (or tailings) are often transported via different pumps to settling ponds.

The processes require extensive use of slurry and water transportation pumps capable of handling vast quantities of liquids at high pressures and high temperatures.

Drawing on its many years of designing slurry pumps for mining, GIW has custom-engineered slurry pumps that combine advanced materials, hydraulics and patented mechanical designs, the latest of which is the TBC-92.

Meeting the customer’s challenge

“Our client needed a higher-capacity pump which was capable of 10,000-11,000 cu.m/h of output at nearly 40 m of developed head and a maximum working pressure of 4,000 kPa,” Mollie Timmerman, GIW Business Development Manager, reports. “The pump also needed to be able to pass rocks of approximately 130 mm in diameter (with a total passage size requirement of 10 in or 254 mm) and handle slurry densities in excess of 1.5 SG (specific gravity). In addition, the customer was targeting a maintenance interval (operational time between planned maintenance) of around 3,000 hours. They had expressed an interest in maximising the maintenance intervals and based on initial wear indications, they are currently hoping to achieve around 6,000 hours between pump overhauls (ie six to eight months).”

The immediate application for the first batch of GIW’s TBC-92 pumps in Alberta is in hydro-transport service where they are used to move bituminous ore from the crusher to the extraction plant. The liquid pumped is a mixture of water, bitumen, sand, and large rocks. Screens are in place to keep these rocks to a manageable size for the process, but the top size can still often reach up to 130 mm in diameter (or larger). The abrasive nature of the slurry is what separates a slurry pump apart from other pumps used in the industry. Wear and erosion are facts of life, and GIW has decades of experience in the design of slurry pumps and the development of materials to help extend the service life of these critical components to match the planned maintenance cycles in the plant.

“GIW already had a pump capable of the output requirement, this being the MDX-750, which has been a popular size in mill duties for nearly 10 years throughout Central and South America,” explains Timmerman. “However, the customer’s application required a pump with higher pressure capabilities and the capability of handling larger rocks so we responded with the development of the TBC-92 which provided the best solution for maximised production.”

The construction style of GIW’s TBC pump range feature large, ribbed plates held together with tie bolts for very high pressure service and maximum wear performance. First developed for dredge service, then later introduced into the oil sands in the 1990s, the TBC pump series has grown into a fully developed range of pumps serving the oil sands, phosphate, dredging and hard-rock mining industries for tailings and hydro-transport applications. The pumps are often grouped together in booster stations to build pressure as high as 750 psi (5,171 kPa) to account for the pipe losses encountered over such long distances. The robust construction of the TBC pump is perfectly suited to do the job, while ensuring maximum availability of the equipment under heavily abrasive wear.

Fig.2A

Capable of delivering pressure up to 37 bar and flows in excess of 18,200 cu.m/h and temperatures up to 120⁰C, the TBC range is a horizontal, end suction centrifugal pump that gives maximum resistance to wear. Simple to maintain, the pump’s tie-bolt design transfers stress loads away from the wear resistant white iron casing to the non-bearing side plates without the use of heavy and unwieldy double-wall construction. The TBC-92 combines the best elements of earlier TBC models, including the ground-breaking TBC-84 oil sands tailing pump, also known as the ‘Super Pump’. The pump also incorporates features from GIW’s cutting-edge MDX product line, which is used in heavy-duty mining circuits throughout the world of hard-rock mining.

In total, the TBC-92 weighs about 209,000 lb (95,000 kg) – roughly equivalent to a fully-loaded Airbus A321 aeroplane. The casing alone weighs 34,000 lb (15,500 kg). Key features of the pump include a slurry diverter that dramatically increases suction liner life by reducing particle recirculation between the impeller and the liner. The large diameter impeller allows the pump to run at slower speeds so that wear life is enhanced. The lower speed also gives the pump the ability to operate over a wider range of flows in order to accommodate fluctuating flow conditions (Fig.2A).
To make maintenance easier, the pump is fitted with a special two-piece suction plate design which helps to reduce tool time and provide safer lifting. Customers receive pump-specific lifting devices to facilitate the safe removal and installation of wear components. The pump also features a long-lasting suction liner that can be adjusted without needing to shut the pump down.

New milestone

The commissioning of the TBC-92 marks an important milestone for GIW, which now has pumps in service at all operating Canadian oil sands plants for hydro-transport applications. The TBC-92 has been designed to tackle heavy-duty slurry transport while providing a low total cost of ownership. Minimal labour and maintenance time helps to maximise production and profit.

“This new pump incorporates the lessons learned from operating in the oil sands over many years and features our latest hydraulic and wear technologies,” says Timmerman. “Because this is the heaviest TBC pump we have ever designed, particular attention was given to maintainability, as well as material selection and construction of the pressure-containing components.”

That GIW has established itself as a significant force in pumping solutions for the oil sands industry is far from surprising given that it has been developing pumping technologies and wear resistant materials in the global mining industry since the 1940s.

These pumps have had a considerable impact on the way that the excavated sand, rock and bitumen are transported to the upgrader plant. By adding water to the excavated material it becomes highly efficient to pump the slurry along a pipeline to the upgrader. The pipeline agitation assists in separating the bitumen from the sand as it is transported, plus there is the additional benefit of removing the use of trucks. GIW has estimated that the cost of moving oil sand in this way can cut costs by $2/bbl, and its far more environmental friendly. These pumps also play a major role in transporting the coarse tailings to the tailings ponds. GIW supplies pumps used in the extraction process and other areas of production (HVF, MDX, LSA, etc).

Understanding slurries

Fig.3

Understanding the nature of slurries and how they behave when being pumped has been fundamental to the development of these products. GIW has been obtaining slurry samples from customers over many years for testing hydraulics and materials both for pumps and pipelines (Fig.3). Research & Development facilities include multiple slurry test beds on the campus, together with a hydraulics laboratory that is dedicated to pump performance testing.

These activities are central to the company’s pump development programs. If companies are experiencing problems the GIW R&D personnel can see where the problem lies and offer advice for remedial action. Experience does indicate that in many cases the problem lies not with the pump, but in the interaction between the pipeline and the pump.

Feedback from customers on applications helps in the development of new tools and pump designs. By bringing together customers and academics from all over the world to share their experience and research with in-house experts, the massive investment in research, development and manufacturing has advanced the design of all of the GIW pump products, materials and wear-resistant components.

The future

“There is a clear trend toward larger pumps in mining and dredging, and the oil sands are no exception,” Leo Perry, GIW Lead Product Manager, says. “The first TBC pump in the oil sands was the TBC-46 (46 in being the diameter of the impeller). Customers are designing their facilities for higher and higher production, and demanding the same of the equipment that keeps their production moving. While these larger pumps demand more power, they also allow for greater production with less downtime required for maintenance. Overall, the efficiency improves when compared to the same output from a larger quantity of smaller pumps.”

In conclusion, he says: “Larger pumps go hand in hand with larger facilities, larger pipelines, and increased production, all of which continue to trend higher year after year. Other customers and industries have also shown an interest in this size, and it would be no surprise at all to see more of these pumps built in the near future for similar applications.”

*This story was written and submitted by GIW with only minor edits

Weir Minerals continues to go with the Multiflo in barge applications

Even with 40 years of custom barge solution expertise under its belt, Weir Minerals says it is continuing to innovate with new designs for applications in oil sands, tailings management and tropical and cold climates.

Developed over the decades, the Weir Minerals range of Multiflo® barges provides a solution for numerous applications, according to the company.

Water reclamation for oil sands market

Reclaim water barges are an integral part of tailings management solutions in oil sands applications, where tailings contain high percentages of water that can be recycled back through the process plant.

Upon identifying the need for reliable systems which were easy to manage and maintain, Weir Minerals developed its mega-barge exclusively for the oil sands market. This all in one package includes pumps, valves, hoses, and piping.

“This is where our turnkey value proposition really took off,” Kris Kielar, Product Manager for engineered-to-order dewatering products at Weir Minerals Canada, explains. “Our largest barge system includes a fully integrated electrical control houses that powers 9,000 hp (6,711 kW) worth of pumps, overhead cranes, remote monitoring and control, and the longest floated walkway we’ve ever provided, with ‘warm-up’ stations every 150 m for one kilometre.”

Mega-barges are the ideal solution for unique applications, such as the scale of water reclaim needed at some of the world’s largest oil sands operations, according to Weir Minerals.

“A typical oil sands operation requires nine barrels of water per barrel of bitumen produced,” continues Kielar, “so the more water that can be reclaimed, the better. The larger the operation, the bigger the water saving potential.”

In addition to the mega-barges for the oil sands market, Weir Minerals also developed modular barge packages as a fully customisable solution for ease of shipment, and a reduction in both capital costs and onsite installation costs. The introduction of both static and mobile, land-based, booster stations and pumphouses further expands the Multiflo barge solution capability while maintaining a single point of contact for customers, the company says.

Tailings management

The need for custom barge solutions for tailings management has increased in recent years. Where previously dewatering pumps in tailings applications were “set-and-forget”, the increased focus on tailings dam safety has shined a new spotlight on barge solutions that can provide heavy-duty, reliable pumping, Weir Minerals said.

Not only must sites revisit current arrangements to consider how their tailings will be handled in the future, they also need to empty the old dams decommissioned by environmental and mining authorities, the company said.

Ricardo Menezes, Barge Systems Specialist at Weir Minerals Brazil, said: “We are equipped to provide the entire solution. From initial consultation and design, to manufacturing, commission, and training and supervision of site operators. We work hard to bring our customers the best possible solution for their site, and we do it all under one roof.”

These all-in-one Multiflo packages eliminate the headache of integrating civil construction, electrical control rooms, control systems, pipes, cables, and mechanical and electrical works, according to the company. Weir Minerals engineer these dewatering barges in-house and employ naval engineering consultants to create tailored solutions for its customers.

Menezes continues: “Sites are being asked to transport tailings on a larger scale than before. An off-the-shelf solution might not work with their existing site infrastructure and that is where our fluid transport expertise comes in.”

Reliability in any situation

Applications in tropical environments, which experience heavy and sometimes unexpected rainfall, often require barge-mounted dewatering pumps to handle the rapidly rising water levels.

Multiflo land-based barges are built to float, protecting the pump unit from being flooded as often happens with a traditional skid pump unit, Weir Minerals says.

These land-based barges are fitted with integrated skid runners that allow them to be towed around mine sites and launched or retrieved with the use of dozers or excavators. The integrated skid runners also provide the added benefit of using the barge as a skid pump operating at the pond edge with easy land access for operators and servicing, the company says.

Marnus Koorts, Product Manager for dewatering pumps at Weir Minerals South Africa, says the company gets very specific requests for these land-based barges.

“We recently completed a project for a customer experiencing regular high wind speeds and tropical storms,” he said. “We needed to account for wave action and wind loading to ensure our solution would minimise risk of structural damage during these storms.”

Other considerations such as water quality, where pH can range from very low through to high, and water content, such as high percentages of suspended solids and floating debris, are also key to maintaining dewatering equipment on site, according to the company.

“Multiflo barges maximise reliability through innovative protection systems chosen specifically for the environment that the barge will operate in,” Weir Minerals says.

For one customer in South Africa, the Weir Minerals team needed to account for more than just water, according to Koorts.

“One of the design requirements for this particular installation was for the handrails and other structures to be engineered to prevent crocodiles from gaining access to the deck space.”

Dewatering in cold climates

In the last year, Weir Minerals barge specialists from Canada have been working with teams in Russia and Finland, to establish a European centre of expertise specifically for dewatering barges in cold-climate applications. Key environmental factors such as wind, snow and seismic loading can affect the buoyancy and stability of the barges, which they looked to address.

“We’re building on the work of the North and South American teams,” Artem Filippov, Dewatering Product Manager at Weir Minerals Russia, said. “Working together and using insights gained from their years of experience have allowed us to create unique barge dewatering systems for our European customers.”

Weir Minerals’ cold-climate expertise comes from experience in floating barge systems at temperatures below -45°C, de-icing systems and winter barge access systems. In addition, Multiflo barge systems are fully marine naval certified under all weather conditions and are marine architect certified, the company says.

Teck Resources intensifies carbon cutting strategies

Teck Resources has announced a target to reduce its carbon intensity by 33% by 2030 as part of its new sustainability strategy and goals.

This news builds on Teck’s previously announced commitment to be carbon neutral across all its operations and activities by 2050. It also follows the company announcing it was withdrawing the regulatory application for the Frontier oil sands project in Alberta, Canada.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO, said: “At Teck, we are always challenging ourselves to improve sustainability performance, so we can be sure we are providing the mining products needed for a cleaner future in the most responsible way possible.

“We have set ambitious new goals for carbon reduction, water stewardship, health and safety, and other areas because we believe that a better world is made possible through better mining.”

Teck’s sustainability strategy has been updated with new long-term strategic priorities, supported by short-term milestone goals. Highlights include:

  • Be a carbon neutral operator by 2050;
  • Reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by 33% by 2030;
  • Procure 50% of electricity demands in Chile from clean energy by 2020 and 100% by 2030;
  • Accelerate the adoption of zero-emissions alternatives for transportation by displacing the equivalent of 1,000 internal combustion engine vehicles by 2025 (a topic IM heard much about at the recent SME MineXchange Annual Conference and Expo);
  • Transition to seawater or low-quality water sources for all operations in water-scarce regions by 2040;
  • Implement innovative water management and water treatment solutions to protect water quality downstream of all our operations;
  • Preferentially consider milling and tailings technologies that use less water for both new mines and any mine life extensions at existing mines;
  • Work towards disposing zero industrial waste by 2040;
  • By 2025, develop and implement a responsible producer program and “product passport” that is traceable through the value chain;
  • By 2025, all operating sites would have and implement plans to secure a net-positive impact on biodiversity;
  • Eliminate fatalities, serious injuries and occupational disease;
  • Increase the percentage of women working at Teck, including women in leadership positions, and advance inclusion and diversity initiatives across the company by 2025; and
  • Achieve greater representation of Indigenous Peoples across the business by 2025 by increasing employment and procurement through business development, capacity-building, education and training opportunities.

In releasing its 2019 Sustainability Report today, Teck showed it had reduced its annual greenhouse gas emissions by 297,000 t of CO2 equivalent since 2011. This is the equivalent of taking 90,500 cars off the road.

Trelleborg expansion barrels keep slurry moving at Canada oil sands mine

Trelleborg is helping improve uptime at a major oil sands mine in Alberta, Canada, through the delivery of rubber-lined expansion barrels.

Due to the size of the operation, oil sands slurry and sediments must travel long distances in the mine’s pipeline system. The mine, therefore, chose Trelleborg’s expansion barrels, which enable the thermal expansion and compression of pipelines, to facilitate extended periods of travel in extreme temperatures at the mine.

This removed the mine’s need for frequent maintenance and consequent downtime caused by extensive wear on the barrel, Trelleborg said.

“The expansion barrels, which were tested over a four-year period at the mine, are flexible in all directions, so they can compensate for the thermal expansion and lateral deflection in a pipe system,” the company said. This enabled the pumps, which circulate the slurry throughout the system, to be protected against load forces and allow for a safe expansion and compression.

Richard Hepworth, President of Trelleborg’s marine and infrastructure operation, which delivered the solution, said: “Testing proved that slurry was able to travel for 24,000 hours in the pipe without maintenance, equating to approximately three years, as opposed to around 4,000 hours, which non-expanding barrels often provide.

“With temperatures across certain parts of our mine reaching as low as -46°C, downtime can compromise the safety of our people during maintenance.”

He added: “With our in-house expertise and mining knowledge, we knew we could supply equipment to meet the demands of the mine’s environmental and business challenges, while providing a solution that can compensate for two or three expansion joints and allow for easy mounting and inspecting.”

The configuration of Trelleborg’s barrel, which can successfully operate in temperatures between -46°C and 90°C – and has an expansion/compression range of 910 mm – was successfully patented in Canada in 2012. The barrel also provides an installation hydraulic ram as a feature for simpler maintenance and rotation.

DeZURIK opens new facility to service Alberta oil sands industry

DeZURIK Inc has opened a new 15,000 sq.ft (4,572 sq.m) Rapid Fulfillment and Service Centre in Leduc, Alberta, Canada, to meet the needs of oil sands mining industry in the region.

The centre will inventory a variety of valves, actuators and accessories required to meet the needs of the oil sands sector, as well offer full repair and rebuild services for DeZURIK products, it said.

Bryan Burns, President and Chief Executive Officer of DeZURIK Inc, said: “We are very pleased to be able to provide next-level service to our customers in the Alberta province. Our mission is to apply our exceptional flow control expertise to the development of vital industrial infrastructure, and the opening of this Rapid Fulfillment Centre is an additional way we can meet the needs of our customers through expedited delivery.”

DeZURIK’s Director of Mining, Steve Clauson, said DeZURIK has provided “superior performing” valve solutions to the oil sands market for decades and this new centre will house inventory and provide repairs to further improve its service for the oil sands market.

DeZURIK valves are applied on slurries, oil sands, process fluids, corrosive media/acids, steam, water, air and dry solids applications, with popular valve styles including the ASME Class Severe Service Knife Gate Valve, Urethane Lined Knife Gate Valve and the Extended Service Knife Gate Valve.

In addition, DeZURIK also manufactures eccentric plug valves, high performance butterfly valves, resilient seated butterfly valves, rotary control valves, rubber flapper check valves, and air valves.

Worley to carry on work at Imperial and Syncrude’s oil sands operations in Canada

Worley has reported that oil sands miners, Imperial Oil Limited and Syncrude Canada Ltd, have extended the ASX-listed firm’s long‐term engineering and procurement services contract for an additional five years.

Building upon the long‐term relationship that began in 1991, Worley will continue to provide Imperial and Syncrude a full range of engineering, procurement and project delivery services for brownfield and greenfield projects in Canada, Worley said.

The services will be executed by Worley’s Canada team, supported by its global business, including Worley’s Global Integrated Delivery office in India.

Andrew Wood, Chief Executive Officer of Worley, said: “We are pleased to continue this long‐term relationship supporting Imperial and Syncrude.”

Both Imperial and Syncrude have major oil sands mining operations in Alberta, Canada.

GIW launches the largest slurry pump in the Canada oil sands

GIW Industries has launched what it says is the largest and heaviest pump available in the mining industry, targeting heavy-duty slurry transport applications in the Canada oil sands.

The GIW® TBC-92 slurry pump is named for its 92 in (2.34 m) impeller and is the latest in a line of powerful high-pressure pumps offered by GIW, the company said.

“The installation of the TBC-92 marks an important milestone: GIW now has pumps in service at all operating Canadian oil sands hydrotransport applications,” GIW said. “The TBC-92 is designed to tackle heavy-duty slurry transport while providing a low total cost of ownership. Minimal labour and maintenance time help to maximise production and profit.”

According to GIW Business Development Manager, Mollie Timmerman, this latest pump incorporates lessons learned over the years from operating in the oil sands, and features GIW’s latest hydraulic and wear technologies.

“Because this is the heaviest TBC pump we have ever designed, particular attention was given to maintainability, as well as material selection and construction of the pressure-containing components,” she said.

The TBC-92 combines the best elements of the products that preceded it, according to the company. This includes many elements from the TBC-84, also known as the ‘Super Pump’, and added features from GIW’s MDX product line – used in heavy-duty mining circuits throughout the world of hard-rock mining such as the First Quantum-owned Cobre Panama mine.

“The client needed a higher-capacity pump than was currently available on the market; the TBC-92 pump is the best solution for maximised production,” Timmerman said.

In total, the TBC-92 weighs about 209,000 lb (94.8 t), with a casing that weighs 34,000 lb (15.4 t) by itself. For ease of maintenance, customers receive custom lifting devices to facilitate safe removal and installation of wear components, GIW said. The pump also features a long-lasting suction liner that can be adjusted without needing to shut the pump down.

After the pump is installed, dedicated site account managers are on call to work through the start-up process, according to GIW, while local services and spare parts supply will be based out of GIW’s Fort McMurray Service Centre, located close by to the oil sands operations.

Suncor to move towards cloud-based computing with Microsoft Azure

Suncor has announced a multi-year strategic alliance with Microsoft Canada as a part of the company’s effort to further accelerate its digital transformation journey.

The oil sands miner has selected Microsoft as its “strategic cloud provider”, tapping into the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions to empower a connected and collaborative workforce, upgrade data centres, and increase analytics capabilities, it said.

Suncor will also collaborate with Microsoft on innovation projects, drawing on expertise and opportunities from both organisations.

Mark Little, Suncor President and CEO, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Microsoft because they’re a global leader in the digital technology space, and they will bring value and insights into global innovation best practices.

“This is an example of how we are driving to improve our business in ways that were not possible before – to make our people safer, increase reliability and productivity, reduce costs and improve sustainability.”

In this multi-year strategic alliance, Suncor will take advantage of Microsoft’s full range of cloud solutions and will move towards cloud-based computing with Microsoft Azure as a preferred cloud platform. The move to Azure is expected to enable the rapid deployment of new technologies to improve safety and productivity through artificial intelligence, machine learning, enhanced automation, and industrial internet of things and visualisation, according to Suncor.

“Although we are an industry leader in many respects, we still have much to learn in the digital space, which is why we’re working with a number of organisations including Microsoft to challenge us,” Little said. “Similar to how we partner with and learn from innovators across our physical value chain, we’re choosing to partner with the experts in digital innovation.”

The company said: “Collaborating on innovation will include Microsoft resources embedded at the core of innovation teams, working together to explore a wide range of business capabilities. Additionally, value will come from accessing the Microsoft innovation ecosystem and real-world lessons from a curated community of global peers.”

Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada, said Suncor was embarking on a journey to transform the energy industry, and his company could help Suncor achieve its goals.

“They are creating new business value for their customers, empowering and upskilling their workforce, and innovating for a sustainable future,” he said. “The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and we look forward to helping Suncor accelerate their digital transformation with Azure, Dynamics 365, Surface and Microsoft 365.”

Through this strategic alliance with Microsoft, Suncor expects to better improve the employee and customer experiences across its business, from front line workers in industrial settings, to gas station attendants at Petro-Canada gas and EV stations, to office workers across Suncor, it said. Digital technologies will be a means to draw superior insights from data and will open new ways to drive improved economic, social and environmental performance.

Suncor’s oil sands mining projects, located in the Athabasca region of Canada, are projected to produce a reliable, long-term energy supply while leveraging technology to minimise environmental and social impacts of resource development, it says. Located near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, the assets include the Millennium and North Steepbank sites as well as the Suncor-operated Fort Hills mine. Suncor also has a 58.74% interest in the Syncrude joint venture and a 100% interest in the Voyageur South mining lease. Suncor holds a 36.75% interest in a joint venture partnership with Total to develop the Joslyn oil sands mining project.

AXIS to cut thermal coal, oil sands from insurance & investment portfolio

AXIS Capital has announced a new policy that will see it exit the market for insurance or facultative reinsurance for the construction of new thermal coal plants or mines, or oil sands extraction and pipeline projects.

The global provider of specialty lines insurance and treaty reinsurance said the policy is a component of a broader corporate citizenship program led by AXIS General Counsel, Conrad Brooks, and overseen by AXIS President and CEO, Albert Benchimol, and the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee of the AXIS Board of Directors.

This policy, which extends to dedicated infrastructure for coal and oil sands projects, will also see the company no longer offer cover to companies that generate 30% or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining, generate 30% or more of their power from thermal coal, or hold more than 20% of their reserves in oil sands.

And, in terms of investments, AXIS said it will not make new investments in companies that generate 30% or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining, that generate 30% or more of their power from thermal coal, or that hold more than 20% of their reserves in oil sands.

The company added: “Renewals will be considered on a case-by-case basis until January 1, 2023. Exceptions to this policy may be considered on a limited basis until January 1, 2025, in countries where sufficient access to alternative energy sources is not available.”

This is part of a wider program that focuses on four key areas: environment, diversity & inclusion, philanthropy and advocacy, AXIS said.

Benchimol explained: “We believe insurers have an important role to play in mitigating climate risk and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. This policy is in line with our broader strategies such as reducing investments in lines that do not align with our long-term approach; investing in growth areas, such as renewable energy insurance where we are a top five global player; and growing our corporate citizenship program, a core focus of which is creating a positive environmental impact.”

Brooks added: “We strive to ensure that every business decision we make is guided by our corporate values, and we believe this new thermal coal and oil sands policy is the right thing to do for our planet and our business.”

AXIS joins several other insurance companies to make plans to exit or reduce their exposure to thermal coal including Zurich, Chubb, Suncorp, Generali, Munich Re and Vienna Insurance Group.

International Mining is currently putting together its first feature on Mining Insurance, which will be published in the November issue