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Case Study

Suncor Fort Hills water balance

Suncor Water Balance

Advisian developed a fully-integrated GoldSIim water balance model that allowed efficiencies in water usage across the site and for Suncor to realize its water intensity target.

Client Challenge

The Fort Hills project, operated by Suncor, is an open-pit mine and associated plant and tailings facilities. Advisian updated the water management plan and assisted with the overall planning and optimization of the mine. This included optimizing water usage (both surface water and process water), minimizing fresh water extractions and surface runoff discharges, and recycling and reusing process water. We also provided sustainability, regulatory, environmental, and EcoNomicsTM support in engineering design, energy efficiency, waste minimization, HSE, site drainage, noise reduction, and environmental protection.

Our Solution

Three surface water management plans for the Fort Hills Project had been prepared previously by three different providers.  Advisian was asked to provide an updated water management plan to reflect changes to the proposed development since 2008, and to assist Suncor with the overall planning and optimization of the mine. The plan included both surface water and process water, and involved optimizing water usage, minimizing fresh water extractions, surface runoff discharges, sedimentation pond design and recycle and reuse process water. Advisian has also prepared regulatory submissions including the Surface Water Management Plan and Emissions Summaries (air, liquids, solid wastes). All plans and reports are living documents and will continue to be updated to be consistent with the design as it progresses.

A fully-integrated GoldSim water balance was developed to optimize water usage and linked dynamically to the process Heat and Mass balance. Additionally, Advisian implemented a dynamic model of the tailings facility which included consolidations of the tailings in the facility, removal of solids to the drying area and management of the clear cap within the pond for water recycle purposes. 

Value Delivered

The fully-integrated model was able to provide insight into water efficiencies and allow Advisian to complete  the preliminary design of seven water management storage ponds throughout the complex. These plans were the foundation of the subsequent EPCM designs that were completed by varying consultants across facility plant battery limits.