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MLX approved by Alberta Energy Regulator

IMAGE. An enlarged map of Syncrude's proposed Mildred Lake extension, which received approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator. Supplied by Syncrude.

Syncrude’s Mildred Lake Extension (MLX) got the green light.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) approved the extension as well as the Mildred Lake tailings management program.

Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Kara Flynn, welcomed the decision saying it’s in the public’s best interest.

“Syncrude has received the MLX decision and we acknowledge and appreciate the panel’s efforts to ensure the process was thorough and comprehensive.”

Flynn also thanked the First Nations of Fort McKay, Mikisew Cree, Fort McMurray 486, Chipewyan Prairie Dene, and the Fort McMurray Métis Local 1935 and Fort McKay Métis for their support.

The entire process took seven years to complete.

Manager of Regulatory Affairs, Isabelle Shelvey, who captained the application process, applauded the AER’s ruling.

However, she noted the tailings plan were not originally part of MLX.

“The AER wanted to integrate those decisions because MLX makes use of existing tailings facilities. We wanted to avoid building a new tailings facility to minimize the project’s footprint.”

AER asked Syncrude to update them on the demonstration project, Base Mine Lake by 2023.

Shelvey said that should not be an issue.

“The AER also asked for the same update when it approved our Aurora North tailings plan in June 2018. Based on the results from our monitoring and research program, [Base Mine Lake] shows improving water quality and settlement of the fluid tailings.”

Syncrude only requires a bridge across the MacKay River.

Completion of that project would allow transports to haul resources to their existing facilities.

Finally, Kara Flynn praised Syncrude employees for their hard work over the seven-year period.

“They put their time and expertise into preparing our application, consulting with affected stakeholders and communities, and ensuring this project will minimize environmental impacts and maximize benefits to the local, provincial and Canadian economies.”