Essay about The Mining And Developing Of Tar Sands

1689 Words Dec 4th, 2014 7 Pages
Within Canada stretches one of the largest and healthiest intact ecosystems left on the planet- a Boreal Forest. It acts as a carbon sink, protects the endangered animals within it, and contains bodies of water that are unspoiled by pollution. Unfortunately, beneath the flourish of life was the dark discovery of tar sands. Tar, or oil sands are composed of sand, water, clay, and bitumen- a thick, dark, and heavy oil. Because of its viscosity, bitumen needs to be lightened with a mixture of hydrocarbons to transport it through pipes. The mining of bitumen began in 1719 when it was first discovered, and small extractions were attempted in the 1920s and throughout World War II. The first commercial bitumen mining began in 1967. and continued into the late 1990s. Major extractions began happening in the early 2000s, and are still occurring today regardless of the effect it has environmentally, economically, and socially. Although the mining and developing of tar sands is a difficult process which releases toxins into the environment, it’s still accountable for 40% of Canada’s oil production, and for 20% for the United State’s unrefined oil purchases. The amounts of Greenhouse Gases, or GHG, (a carbon intensive energy) released from the development of tar sand has gone down by 39% since 1990 (Environment Canada), but still makes up 5% of Canada’s total contribution to Global Warming. With the development of reduction technology, processes like Slurry Hydrotransport, Paraffinic…

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