Oil Sands Projects


The terms set forth below have the meanings set out opposite them for the purpose of this Web Site.

Alluvial Deposits Sediments such as sand or gravel transported and deposited by water.
Altered Ilmenite
(Also see Leucoxene)
Ilmenite (FeO.TiO2) with some of the contained Ferrous Oxide oxidised to Ferric Oxide, leaving various iron oxides and Titanium Dioxide and having total elevated TiO2 contents between 55-65 wt.%. SG: 3.5- 4.5
Anatase A natural occurring mineral of titanium dioxide in crystallographic containing in excess of 90% TiO2. SG of 3.9.
Bitumen Generally, any of various flammable mixtures of hydrocarbons and other substances, occurring naturally or obtained by distillation from coal or petroleum, that are a component of asphalt and tar and are used for surfacing roads and for waterproofing, or upgrading to synthetic crude oil. Also the name given to the particular hydrocarbon which is contained in the Athabasca Oil Sands.
Bitumen Froth Mixture of Bitumen, water, clay and oleophilic minerals (including the Heavy Minerals containing Titanium and Zircon) which float to the top of the settling vessels after the freshly mined oil sands are subjected to hot water and caustic and vigorously agitated.
Caustic Soda NaOH or sodium hydroxide dissolved in water. A strongly basic polar ionic solvent used to leach certain soluble minerals and clean Bitumen off oil sands.
Centrifuge Plant Part of the processing operation of Syncrude Canada Ltd. where the Bitumen Froth is centrifuged to remove the solids, water, and clay which are then sent to the tailings pond. Also called the Froth Treatment Plant.
Coke Solid reductant produced from the distillation of crude oil or the devolatilisation of coal. Used as a source of carbon reductant in metallurgical operations such as the chloride process
Chloride Pigment Process Industrial process for transforming +62% TiO2 minerals, +80% TiO2 slags and +90% TiO2 synthetic rutile in a medium of hot chlorine gas and coke, to form Titanium Tetrachloride("tickle"), used in the manufacture of Titanium Dioxide pigments and titanium metal.
Deposit A mineralized body which has been delineated and found to contain sufficient mineral grade and commercial value to justify further exploration or development work. A deposit does not become a reserve until certain legal, technical and economic factors have been addressed and resolved.
Dry Mill Plant where dry separation processes are employed for the separation of valuable heavy minerals. Also referred to as a Mineral Separation Plant (MSP).
Estuarine Deposits Alluvial Deposits which originated in an estuary.
Foundry An establishment where metal is melted and poured into moulds. The moulds themselves must not melt at the molten metal temperature. Highly thermally resistant materials such as Zircon are used to line these moulds.
Froth Treatment Plant See "Centrifuge Plant".
Gangue Minerals Worthless rock or other minerals in which valuable minerals are found or are associated with. Also referred to as "Trash minerals".
Garnet A family of minerals conforming to a specific chemical composition containing silicate, (Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Al, Cr).SiO4. They are very hard and used as an abrasive or sand blasting medium. SG varies between 3.4 and 4.3.
Gravity Spiral Concentrator A vertically oriented multi-cycle helical sluice, at the top of which a sand slurry is introduced. Separates solids in the slurry based on their SG and size grading using centrifugal force and hydrodynamic transport.
Heavy Minerals Minerals found in sands having SG of not less than 2.8, including Zircon, the titanium-bearing minerals Rutile, Anatase, Ilmenite, and Leucoxene, as well as Garnets, Tourmalines, Kyanite, Siderite, Pyrite, Magnetite, and others.
Ilmenite Iron Titanium Trioxide (FeTiO3 or FeO.TiO2). SG of 4.7. The TiO2 content naturally varies from 35% to 65%. The most abundant titanium mineral.
Kyanite Aluminium Silicate (KAlSi3O8). SG of 3.5.
Leucoxene The limiting case of Altered Ilmenite wherein some or all of the Ferrous Oxide has been weathered out in varying degrees and converted to Ferric Oxide and then naturally leached from the mineral grain causing upgrading of the TiO2 content . SG varies from 3.6 -- 4.3. The TiO2 content varies between 65 and 92%.
Magnetite Ferrous Oxide (Fe3O4). Ferromagnetic with SG of 5.2.
Mineral Sands This term normally refers to concentrations of heavy minerals in an alluvial (old beach or river system) environment. In some cases also referred to as "beach sands".
Mineral Suite The make-up or assemblage of the various minerals present in an ore body or process stream.
Oleophilic Attracted to oil by virtue of their surface chemical properties.
ppm Parts per million
Pseudorutile Originally referred to a arizonite, is formed by the alteration of ilmenite and contains 60% - 65% TiO2
Pyrite Iron Sulphide (FeS2) or "Fool's Gold". SG of 5.1.
Quartz Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) or Silica. SG of 2.6.
Refractory Material that has a high melting point, such as Zircon.
Rutile A certain crystallographic form of Titanium Dioxide, with SG of 4.2. The TiO2 content typically varies from 94% - 96%.
SG Specific gravity of a mineral relative to water, which is 1.
Siderite Iron Carbonate (FeCO3). SG of 3.9.
Silicates Silicon Dioxide (Quartz) and other minerals largely consisting of silicon and oxygen, often erroneously used to refer to those minerals with SG less than 2.8.
Slimes Valueless undersize material (or fines) in a sand mixture, both mineral and organic, including clay. Typically defined as particles smaller than 45µm.
Tailings Valueless detritus material from a separation or concentration process.
Synthetic Rutile A product from a process whereby ilmenite is converted in a pyrometallurgical (roasting) process to convert the titanium component into the insoluble rutile form, while conditioning the iron component for leaching. It is then rapidly leached at atmospheric pressure in acid to remove the iron, leaving a network of rutile crystals in the former ilmenite grain. This "synthetic" rutile is then washed, filtered and heated (calcined) to make the final saleable product. The final product TiO2 content can vary from 91% - 96%.
THM Total Heavy Mineral fraction by mass, as derived from the sinks fraction of a heavy liquid separation test procedure, using Tetra-bromo-ethane (TBE) with a density of 2.95 or Bromoform with a density of 2.85.
TiO2 Units Amount of Titanium Dioxide contained in a mineral assemblage, used for making direct comparison of the valuable fraction of different ores or mixtures.
TiO2 Slag The product whereby ilmenite is smelted in an electrical submerged arc furnace at plus 1600°C. Pig iron is also tapped as a by-product. The slag can typically have a TiO2 content of 80% -92%.
Titanium The ninth most abundant element in the earth's crust and occurs naturally as TiO2 in a number of minerals, those of greatest commercial importance being Ilmenite, Leucoxene and Rutile.

Approximately 95% of titanium is consumed in the form of titanium dioxide (TiO2), an intensely white permanent pigment with good covering power in paints, paper, toothpaste, and plastics. Paints made with titanium dioxide are excellent reflectors of infrared radiation and are therefore used extensively by astronomers and in exterior paints. It is also used in cement, in gemstones, and as a strengthening filler in paper.

Because of its very high tensile strength (even at high temperatures), light weight (43% lighter than steel), extraordinary corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures, titanium alloys are principally used in aircraft, armour plating, naval ships, spacecraft and missiles. It is used in steel alloys to reduce grain size and as a deoxidiser but in stainless steel it is employed to reduce carbon content. Titanium is often alloyed with aluminium (to refine grain size), vanadium, copper (to harden), iron, manganese, molybdenum and with other metals.

Its vanadium alloy is used to make the outer skin of aircraft, to make fire walls, landing gear, and hydraulic tubing. A typical commercial jet airplane contains 320 to 1130 kg of titanium. Use of titanium in consumer products such as golf clubs, bicycles, laboratory equipment, wedding bands, and laptop computers is becoming more common.
Titanium Dioxide White powder used as pigment or filler for its high covering power, durability and stability in ultra-violet light and opacity in coatings, plastics, and paper.
Ton Short Ton or U.S. Ton. Equals 2000 lbs. or 907.4 kg. (Not to be confused with Long Ton or 2240 lbs).
Tonne Metric Tonne or long ton. Equals 1000 kg or 2204 lbs.
Tourmaline A family of iron-silicate minerals of little or no value and SG of 2.9 to 3.2.
TPH Tonnes per hour of the solids in a process stream.
VHM Valuable Heavy Mineral content. This is the mass fraction that contains the valuable TiO2 (Ilmenite, Leucoxene and Rutile) and zircon minerals in the THM.
Wet Plant Plant where wet separation processes (mostly gravity) are employed for the concentration of heavy minerals. The product is a Heavy Mineral Concentrate which is then transported to the Dry Mill or MSP. Also referred to as a Primary Concentrator Plant.
Zircon Zirconium Silicate (ZrO2. SiO2). SG of 4.7.