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Preparation of these workshop lectures on the broad topic of ‘clay in oil sands’ was motivated by two observations. The first was the growing interest in the effects of clay on oil-sands operations, in particular bitumen flotation and fine-tailings management. The second was the lack of a common basis of understanding, or even common vocabulary, among the various disciplines involved in investigating and managing those effects. The hope is that the contributions herein will summarize current knowledge about the effects of clay on oil-sands operations, while gently introducing basic theory, terminology, and methods that the authors and editors believe will facilitate further advances.

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