This is part of our series on the Alberta oil sands.
I’ve spent the past few days touring oil sands research facilities and drilling sites, but today I got to see the vast expanse of sands from above.
Hanging out the side window of a small Cessna 172, I took these shots from about 1,000 feet in the air, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Mining here in the sands makes up just over half the oil pulled from the area. Nearly as much is drawn up through wells in a process called in-situ recovery, but this open mining is generally what people think of when they picture the oil sands.
The vast number of people working these sites get bussed or flown in and head back to their homes on their days off. Tonight I’ll be going on a ride along with the local police to see what types of difficulties, if any, such a unique population offers local law enforcement.
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