Syncrude Tailings Dam

Syncrude Tailings Dam

dam_name= Syncrude Tailings Dam

caption= Syncrude Tailings Dam, enclosing tailings pond
officiali_name= Syncrude Tailings Dam
locale=Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
maint= Syncrude Canada Ltd.
length= 11.3 miles (18 km) [, page 58]
height= 131 ft to 288 ft (40 m to 88 m) [, page 58]
began= 1978
closed= Still in operation


The Syncrude Tailings Dam is a barrage dam that is, by volume of material, the largest dam in the world at 540,000,000 cubic meters. [ [ Big Dams: Pros, Cons, and Consequences ] ] It is located near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The dam and the tailings pond within it are maintained as part of ongoing operations by Syncrude Canada Ltd. in extracting oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands.


The Syncrude Tailings Dam is a barrage dam used to store tailings left over from oil extraction process at the site. As part of the extraction process, voluminous quantities of tailings are produced as left over byproducts. Some of this material is solid material, and contributes to construction of the dam. Other material is in liquid form and is stored in a containment pond within the confines of the dam. As of 1997, up to 250,000 tons of tailings are produced daily at the site. [, page 2 paragraph 3] The dam is constructed using an upstream method. [, page 4 paragraph 6]

As of 2007, Syncrude Tailings Dam is the largest in the world by volume, approaching twice the size of the second largest dam in the world, Chapetón Dam in Argentina.


Construction of the dam began during the period 1973 to 1978 to support oil extraction operations from low depth oil sands. The official opening of the mining operation, and thus operation of the dam and containment pond, was on September 15, 1978. [, last paragraph.] As mining operations continue, the dam and the containment pond within it continue to grow in size.

ee also

* Syncrude Canada Ltd.
* Athabasca Oil Sands


External links

* [ Syncrude Canada Ltd official site]
* [ List of world's largest dams]
* [ Tailings dams in Canada]
* [ Syncrude mining operations]

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