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Back to Nature: South Bison Hills (video)

Dec 18, 2017

Reclamation is a major focus of Syncrude and our commitment to responsible oil sands development. Recently, Syncrude held a Research & Development Technical Seminar which hosted employees as well as academics and experts from across the province.

The Seminar showcased innovative technologies developed by Syncrude scientists in collaboration with partners, including a reclamation project on a former overburden deposit area called South Bison Hills (SBH). Seminar attendees got a front row seat to the reclamation work with a new video showcasing the site, the science that began around 20 years ago and the experts that made it all happen.

“Syncrude is committed to addressing our reclamation challenges with good science,” explained Marty Yarmuch, Syncrude Soil Scientist in the video.

SBH is an example of Syncrude’s advanced reclamation technology, which helps provide valuable insight and information for reclamation sites across Alberta and beyond.

“Hiking through the South Bison Hills reclaimed area, there is a sense you’re in any boreal forest in Northern Canada,” says Mal Carroll, Syncrude General Manager, Research and Development.

Syncrude’s scientists, engineers and environmental teams were the first to design an enclosure landform as a fully integrated watershed. This design allows for nature to take over and continue to grow to full maturity - just as any other boreal forest in the province.

“It’s not only established a new standard for how you can design, study and construct these landforms, but it’s produced confidence in the tools we’ve used,” says Dr. Lee Barbour, Professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

The South Bison Hills reclamation area, several hundred hectares in size, can be seen from a public viewpoint just off Highway 63 a few kilometres south of Syncrude's Mildred Lake operation. The site is also home to a portion of Syncrude's bison herd during the summer months.

Learn more about Syncrude's reclamation by visiting

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