Welcome to the ACPA Seminar Series, a monthly webinar series including various topics of interest related to advancing the Chemical Profession in Alberta. For the next seminar in this series, we are happy to introduce Dr. Heather Kaminsky, NSERC Industrial Research Chair for 'Clays & Clay Minerals Impact on Oil Sands Tailings Behavior' on October 17, 2023. Each seminar will be eligible for 1 PDC credit.

Clays & clay minerals have long been recognized as having a significant impact on oil sands tailings behavior, with increased clay content being associated with slower settling, higher required flocculant dosages and longer consolidation times. The Methylene blue index (MBI) is a simple index test that provides an indication of clay activity.

This test has been in use in the oil sands for over 30 years and is routinely employed in test programs. This presentation explains the Methylene blue test the ways small changes in conducting the test impacts the results and therefore which factors are critical to control in implementing the method. The presentation will also review how the results can be used to better understand the behavior of oil sands ores, and tailings as well as how it has been used in a non-oil sands context.


6:45 - 6:59 PM MT - Networking

7:00 - 8:00 PM MT - Presentation and Q&A


Dr. Heather Kaminsky, NSERC Industrial Research Chair

Heather describes herself as a polymath – a lover of learning and knowledge. She started out heavily focused on artistic pursuits selling paintings door to door, publishing poetry, and acting. After high school she moved into the field of engineering and completed a PhD and BSc at the University of Alberta in Materials Engineering.

Heather’s PhD thesis was on the Characterization of an Oil Sand Ore and Process streams, where she learned about the types of clay minerals found in the oil sands and studied how they distribute around extraction. During her thesis she also undertook work to study the fundamental structure of some of the clay and heavy minerals in the oil sands using advanced characterization techniques such as quantitative x-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. In her thesis she gained a deep appreciation for clay minerals and how they influence every oil sands process. This has spurred her passion for helping others to understand oil sands clays and earned her the moniker “Queen of Clay”.

Heather is currently the NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in the area of Oil sands tailings management at NAIT’s Center for Oil Sands Sustainability where her goal is to solve tailings by 2030. To do so she is hoping to help summarize and distribute the knowledge in the industry, articulate the key challenges and inspire creative, practical solutions.

In addition to her engineering & artistic endeavors Heather is also passionate about making society more inclusive. In 2008 Heather Co-founded Women in Science and Engineering Research (WISER) at the UofA dedicated to providing better mentoring opportunities at the graduate at early research career level. Upon moving to Calgary in 2009 she continued this passion by Co-founding Mentor UP Alberta! A mentoring organization targeted at mentoring under represented populations. Currently Heather spends her volunteer hours as a mentor and loves nothing more than helping others succeed.


Admission: FREE

Registration Deadline: October 16, 2023

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Register Today

If you have questions, contact the ACPA office at [email protected].