Heavy minerals exist in Alberta’s oil sands in minor quantities. These minerals are attracted to bitumen and become greatly concentrated by the oil sands bitumen extraction process. Froth treatment tailings resulting from the final stage of bitumen extraction contain the majority of minerals as well as residual bitumen. Titanium Corporation’s process will intercept forth treatment plant (FTP) tailings near their discharge into the tailings pond.
Titanium Corporation is developing unique technologies to recover heavy minerals, primarily zircon, and a significant portion of bitumen from this tailings stream.
Titanium has been awarded Canadian Patent 2,712,725 which improves solvent recovery beyond current industry practices, reducing the amount of solvent discharged to tailings ponds and the atmosphere. The company believes that implementation of this new technology will significantly reduce Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions from oil sands froth treatment tailings as well as recover valuable products being lost in tailings ponds.
Over the five year program to develop this latest patented solution, the company’s Dr. Kevin Moran led a research team which included scientists from the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in Chicago. Dr. Moran also collaborated with Dr. D.-Y. Peng of the University of Saskatchewan. Stakeholders are actively supporting the company’s programs and grant funding has been provided by the Alberta Government, the Canadian Government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the National Research Council.