Industrial Research Chair Program

Dr. G. Ward Wilson holds the NSERC Senior Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Geotechnique and is a Professor of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering at the University of Alberta. Bringing over 25 years of industrial experience to his practice in advanced mine waste management and unsaturated soil mechanics, he has extensive work experience as a consulting engineer and has maintained a strong industrial focus through his research programs.

This Industrial Research Chair (IRC) program aims to significantly advance the rate at which tailings ponds can be reclaimed and focuses on four major areas of innovative research in collaboration with industry:

  1. investigating the unsaturated soil mechanical properties of oil sands tailings;
  2. investigating consolidation processes for various forms of fluid fine tailings, MFT and amended MFT;
  3. assessing and improving tailings deposition; and
  4. understanding the long-term geotechnical behaviour of fine tailings through laboratory testing and simulations.

The IRC program will provide Alberta’s oil sands industry, its regulators and consultants with novel technologies to measure the effectiveness of current tailings remediation efforts, new and innovative processes for reducing the amount of post-production tailings, and simulation models to assist industry with tailings planning and management.