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Tar Sands Costs May Jeopardize Their Future

Common Dreams staff

The Syncrude Mildred Lake mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta. (photo: Alex Abboud via flickr)

The rising costs of the tar sands industry in Canada may bring projects to a halt, CBC News reports.

According to a memo CBC News obtained from Mark Corey, an official in the federal Department of Natural Resources, the increasing costs in extracting the dirty crude may be prohibitive. Corey wrote in the memo:

Although current crude prices promote oilsands development, ever-increasing capital and operating costs could make this price insufficient to support oilsands development at forecast levels.

Greg Weston reports for CBC News:

The memo estimates that operating and capital costs to extract a barrel of oil from the tar-like sands have both more than doubled over the past decade.

It blames a chronic shortage of workers and resulting sky-high labour costs as the main cause of increased operating expenses.

Corey's memo reflects a growing concern inside government over the future of the oilsands, and specifically the massive amount of capital investment that will be needed to fuel their continued development.

Rather than bring an end to the polluting industry, it may simply push the government to accept more foreign investment to keep the tar sands flowing, CBC News adds.

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