Progressive reclamation

Imperial’s goal is to return disturbed land to equivalent land capability, leaving behind self-sustaining ecosystems that support wildlife and traditional Indigenous uses. Our commitment to progressive reclamation goes beyond regulatory compliance, and reclamation planning begins even before production begins. We start with the end in mind.

We are committed to:

Indigenous and community engagement
Ongoing research to reclaim sustainable landscapes

  • 01. Plan

    Reclamation planning starts before disturbance begins and continues throughout life of operations

    01. Plan 01. Plan
  • 02. Assess

    Baseline environmental assessments completed prior to operations
    02. Assess 02. Assess
  • 03. Conserve

    Seed collection of plants native to area

    Salvaging soil for future reclamation

    03. Conserve 03. Conserve
  • 04. Operate

    Includes ongoing air, water, land and wildlife monitoring
    04. Operate 04. Operate
  • 05. Remediate

    Decommission facilities and remediate impacts
    05. Remediate 05. Remediate
  • 06. Reclaim

    Contouring, replacing soil and planting native vegetation
    06. Reclaim 06. Reclaim
  • 07. Monitor

    Monitor reclaimed areas including wildlife use
    07. Monitor 07. Monitor
  • 08. Certify

    Reclamation certification achieved
    08. Certify 08. Certify

    Upstream reclamation performance

    Over the past 40 years, Imperial’s operations in the oil sands region have impacted approximately 15,000 hectares, or 0.0375 per cent of Alberta’s boreal forest. This includes our in situ operation at Cold Lake (3,704 hectares), our oil sands mining operation at Kearl (10,657 hectares) and early work at our Aspen development (509 hectares).

    To the end of 2022, more than 800 hectares have been cumulatively reclaimed at Kearl and Cold Lake. In addition:

    • Since 1999, Imperial has planted almost 1.7 million trees and shrubs to support reclamation activities at our Cold Lake operations.
    • In total, approximately 18.5 per cent of Cold Lake’s footprint has been permanently reclaimed.
    • Imperial has collected and banked seeds from over 60 species of native plants to support progressive reclamation at Kearl.
    • Imperial is also a member of the Oil Sands Vegetation Cooperative (OSVC), which funds the harvest and banking of native plant seeds and research into seed storage.

    Oil sands footprint



    1Reclamation certificates issued by the Alberta Energy Regulator on two OSE programs that included 32 sites.
    2LiDAR = Laser imaging, detection and ranging.

    Related content