Indigenous Company Starting Tailings Purifying Pilot Project in Wood Buffalo

An Indigenous-company in Ontario is working on a new method to help clean tailings ponds.

Carbonix is preparing to start a pilot project in Wood Buffalo aimed at converting petroleum coke into activated carbon which in turn can be used to purify processed water.

“We’re looking to process oilsands process water, tailings for the purposes of ensuring that those waters meet the provincial thresholds that enable them to be returned back to the natural environment,” said Paul Pede, Carbonix President, and CEO.

The company recently received $3.1 million in funding from the federal government for the two-year project.

Carbonix is reportedly working with Suncor Energy. This after the Fort McKay First Nation introduced them to the oil giant when the project was still being developed.

“That does not preclude us from reaching out to other companies to explore opportunities for the near future as well,” added Pede.

Meanwhile, Syncrude is also starting a project looking at potential cleaning wastewater and returning it into the Athabasca River.

Pede adds the company is familiar with the initiative, noting they’re open to exploring possible partnerships.

“We initially first want to make sure that we get this one project off the ground successfully and we want to make sure we manage our efforts carefully,” he said. “Having said that, we look forward to having a dialogue with other oilsands companies as well.”

If the project is a success, Carbonix plans on opening a production facility in Wood Buffalo around 2021-22.

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