On January 27, 2011, a three-member Joint Review Panel established by the federal Minister of Environment and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board ("ERCB") released its Report on a review of TOTAL E&P Joslyn Ltd. ("TOTAL")'s Joslyn North Mine Project, a proposed oil sands surface mine that would begin production in 2017.
The Joint Review Panel expressed an intention to approve TOTAL's application subject to twenty conditions that pertain to environmental benchmarks, monitoring and planning, among other requirements. The conditions include submissions of a detailed tailings management plan two years prior to commencing operations to demonstrate TOTAL's ability to meet all of the requirements of ERCB Directive 074.
Starting 2012 onward, Directive 074 states that mining operators must capture 50 per cent of their annual production of "fines" suspended in tailings. It is interesting that recent tailings management plans submitted by current oil sands mining operators have been approved despite not meeting the criteria established by Directive 074.