Thickening of Low Temperature Extraction Oil Sands Tailings Using CaO and CO2

CIM Vancouver 2002
Rick J. Chalaturnyk, J. Don Scott, Baki Ozum,
Abstract In Alberta, oil sands bitumen is utilized for synthetic crude oil production by surface mining, bitumen extraction followed by primary (coking) and secondary (catalytic hydrotreating) upgrading processes, or by catalytic hydrocracking and hydrotreating replacing the primary and secondary upgrading processes. Oil sands tailings, composed of water, sands, silt, clay and residual bitumen, is produced as a byproduct of the bitumen extraction process. Several processes have been proposed for the treatment of oil sands tailings, resulting in different recovered water characteristics, consolidation rates and consolidated solid characteristics, which may have effects on the performance of the overall plant operations. A process for the same purpose has been developed by treating the oil sands tailings with CaO lime and CO2 and thickening it using a suitable thickener. In this process a release water of acceptable properties is recovered in a short retention time, which makes it possible to recycle the recovered water, probably after a reconditioning treatment, as warm as possible to improve the thermal efficiency of the extraction process. The paper presents the theory and laboratory results for the CaO and CO2 thickening of low temperature flotation tailings. The water release rates, segregation potential of the thickened underflow and chemistry of the release water are shown and discussed. It is suggested that in using the proposed process, the thickened tailings underflow can be disposed for further consolidation, or combined with the coarse tailings to produce Blended Composite Tailings, corresponding to the Composite Tailings process in the existing hot water extraction plants.
Keywords: Greenhouse Gases, Thickening, Bitumen, reconditioning, Extraction, Sedimentation, Oil sands, Lime, Tailings, Water
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