This project examines the costs and benefits of reclamation technologies and policy frameworks in the context of energy systems. New reclamation technologies may provide improved outcomes and/or lower costs relative to traditional technologies, such as improved methods for reclaiming oil sands process water in tailings ponds). The technologies may also provide different benefit streams such as more rapid reclamation or improved environmental outcomes.
The analyses will examine the costs and benefits of alternative approaches to reclamation, relative to current methods. The project examines alternative policy frameworks such as tax-refund schemes or new approaches to mine financial security as the costs and benefits of reclamation options depend, in part, on the policy framework that they are developed within. As such, the unique contribution of this project is the integration of the examination of costs and benefits of reclamation approaches, with the assessment of alternative policy frameworks.
Research currently in progress includes several components. Examination of a tax and tax-refund scheme is addressing the impact of linear features on boreal caribou, including measurement of the costs, benefits and impacts on industry and the public of the use of a tax-refund system. Examination of new technologies to treat oil sands process water, includes costs and benefits of alternative technologies. Assessment of alternative policy approaches (financial security, tax, tax-refund, mixtures of systems) on the costs and benefits of oil sands process water reclamation is being addressed.