Characterization of Oil Sands Tailings using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Technique

Motta Cabrera S.C.,Bryan J., and Kantzas A.

Proceedings of IMWA 2008 — 10th Int. Mine Water Association Congress: Mine Water and the Environment, Czech Republic, 2008.


In the oil sands mining industry in Alberta, Canada, large volumes of tailings are produced as waste from the recovery of bitumen. This study uses the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) technique to characterize tailings samples and their settling behaviour in presence of flocculant. An estimation of the water, oil and solids content and the variations in the settling rate are analyzed over time. NMR is used to establish if flocculant addition is successful in breaking down suspensions, or if additional chemical is required. The results show the NMR technique can be a potential on-site fast measurement of tailings settling characteristics for determining process modifications.

A full version of this paper is available on IMWA Online.