Titanium Corporation has moved an important step closer to building the first commercial installation of a technology designed to reduced methane emissions from oilsands tailings ponds while at the same time recovering bitumen, solvent and high-value heavy minerals.
Canadian Natural Resources has now committed up to $3.7 million to conduct engineering design for the proposed project, located at the oilsands major’s Horizon mining and upgrading site, Titanium says, adding to its own commitment of $1.5 million.
The project, estimated to cost $10.2 million, has also received support from Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) — a grant of up to $5.0 million from ERA is being finalized with negotiations to be completed by October 31.
Titanium has been developing its technology since 2004, progressively conducting a series of more detailed pilot projects including a $15-million demonstration pilot for three oilsands producers in 2010, executed with $5 million in funding from Sustainable Technology Development Canada.
The system targets tailings streams from oilsands froth treatment, which are estimated to be responsible for more than 90 percent of methane emissions from tailings ponds.
“By preventing solvent and bitumen release, the vast majority of methane emissions from mined oilsands operations can be reduced,” Titanium says.
Results from the Canadian Natural-sponsored project will be applicable to other large oilsands mines and results will be shared and disseminated through Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance.
The ERA funding approval is subject to successful negotiation of a contribution agreement by October 31, 2017, which Titanium CEO Scott Nelson said is well advanced.