Reclamation Initiatives in Alberta

The Government of Alberta is moving forward with a number of enhanced reclamation initiatives to improve clarity, security, and environmental performance within the oil sands and coal mining sectors.

New reclamation initiatives include a strengthened mine financial security program, enhanced reclamation reporting, an aggressive strategy to manage existing tailings ponds and encourage quicker reclamation, and an online Oil Sands Information Portal.

Mine Financial Security Program:

  • applies to both oil sands and coal mines
  • uses an asset-to-liability approach that recognizes the value of a resource in terms of cash flow
  • full financial security is required when risks are highest - towards the end of a mine's life
  • over the long-term, total security will be higher than under previous approach
  • all oil sands mines will now provide security based on full reclamation costs and not on older, grandfathered rates
  • includes security for plant sites of mines (upgraders)
  • government can require operators to post full security at any time

Reclamation reporting:

  • number of reporting milestones have been increased from three (disturbed, reclaimed, certified) to eight to better reflect the different phases of reclamation work

Oil Sands Information Portal:

  • ensures oil sands facts - including information on reclamation - are accessible, easy to understand and up-to-date.

Reclamation Certificate Program:

  • enhancements will provide better information about reclamation work and achievements
  • result will be consistent reporting requirements for industry and a more complete picture of reclamation performance

Criteria and Indicators Framework for Oil Sands Mine Reclamation Certification (2013)

The Criteria and Indicators Framework for Oil Sands Mine Reclamation Certification (the Framework) is a preliminary step in defining a structured process and information requirements for oil sands mine reclamation certification.

  • The Criteria and Indicators Framework for Oil Sands Mine Reclamation Certification provides guidance for reclamation certification at oil sands mines. The framework was developed by the Cumulative Environmental Management Association with input from industry personnel, government staff, non-government organizations and people living in the oil sands region.
  • As it stands now, the Framework is not complete and requires further development before implementation. The conditions of approvals issued to each oil sands mine operator under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act continue to provide direction for reclamation and closure planning.
  • When completed, the Framework will support applications for reclamation certification, after which the land can be returned to the Crown.
  • The Framework can be accessed at:

For copies of the document, contact the Information Centre:

Learn more about reclamation in Alberta's oil sands region


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Updated: Jan 16, 2018