Oilsands miner reports 123 birds killed in tailings pond incident

CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator says it’s responding to a report of bird fatalities at the soon-to-be-producing Fort Hills oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray.

It says the mine has reported 123 waterfowl and songbirds have died or had to be euthanized.


AER spokesman Ryan Bartlett says the bird were found on or near a tailings pond, a body used to separate oil, sand and chemicals from water used in oilsands ore transportation and processing.

He says the mine operated by Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) is continuing to monitor and collect the injured and dead birds and an AER inspector is on route to the site.

Syncrude Canada was fined $3 million for the deaths of more than 1,600 ducks when they landed on its oilsands mine tailings pond in 2008.

In October 2010, more than 550 birds had to be destroyed when an early winter storm forced them to land on toxic waste ponds belonging to Syncrude and Suncor.

The Canadian Press