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The particle-size distribution of oil-sands tailings has always figured prominently in the mine planning and overall operations and closure strategy in surface-mined oil sands. In oil-sands applications, the convention is to define the sand as the mineral components >44 μm in size and the fines as the mineral component which is <44 μm. The water-based extraction process uses 2 m3 of water to extract the bitumen from 1 m3 of oil sand, and as the bulk of this water is recycled, large containment areas are required to maintain a supply of extraction water. A significant proportion of water...

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