Canadian Mining Stories

Indigenous Women are Leading the Way

Environmental scientist Rochelle Young was raised in Fort McMurray. Of Métis heritage, she first joined Syncrude Canada Ltd. in May 2001 as a co-op student. Now a regulatory advisor, she plays a key role in responsibly reclaiming mine tailings into new landscapes.

Tailings management is an essential part of the mining process. Syncrude’s full-scale centrifuge plant, which holds 18 tailings spinners, is one of the oil sands miner’s most significant current capital investments at $1.9 billion. The centrifuge tailings technology is resulting in important strides forward in reclamation as we know it. With the technology, the fine tailings are transformed into a soil material that can be used as the basis for restoration activities, including planting trees, shrubs and other vegetation. In efforts to affect more extensive positive change in the tailing management and reclamation fields, Syncrude shared its centrifuge tailings technology with other members of the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, a collaborative research initiative between oil sands developers.

From Rochelle’s perspective, she appreciates the company’s commitment to the region’s Indigenous people. “From Syncrude’s involvement in the communities to the many programs geared at creating opportunity, the company truly shows how committed they are to the Indigenous people of this region.”

Canada’s mining industry is a leader in training, hiring and advancing Indigenous talent.

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