Tailings Engineer

NOC #21301, #21320

  • Environment Primarily indoor/office work
  • Education Post-secondary degree

Career profile

Tailings engineers are essential to the safe and efficient operations of oil sands facilities and ensure that the clay, sand, water and residual bitumen (or oil) that make up a site’s tailings are safely managed and properly processed.

They design and coordinate technical programs, processes and infrastructure to manage, treat, store and remediate tailings from oil sands production operations. Tailings engineers often work on projects that require them to use skills and knowledge from across a wide range of engineering specializations including mechanical, chemical and civil engineering.

Exploration and production, Oil sands

In this occupation, activities may include:

  • Providing process engineering and review at all stages of tailings projects including concept, technical requirements, design, construction, operations and decommissioning.
  • Providing plans and assessments for the commissioning, operations and maintenance of tailings projects.
  • Establishing and conducting quality control programs, operating procedures and control strategies to ensure consistency and adherence to standards for raw materials, products and waste products or emissions.
  • Overseeing the design, construction, modification, operation and maintenance of tailings pilot plants, processing units or processing plants.
  • Planning and managing projects, and preparing material, cost and timing estimates, reports and design specifications for machinery and systems.


  • A bachelor’s degree in mechanical or chemical engineering or in a related engineering discipline is required.
  • A master’s degree or doctorate in a related engineering discipline may be required.


  • Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.).
  • Engineers are eligible for registration following graduation from an accredited educational program, and after three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering and passing a professional practice examination.

Additional Requirements

  • Specific health and safety certifications may be required, determined by location of work and company requirements
  • Travel likely required
  • Primarily indoor/office work
  • Work not physically demanding
  • Chemistry
  • Design Creation
  • Application of Engineering Design and Technology
  • Production and Processing
  • Operations Design Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation and Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Professional Judgment and Decision Making
  • Planning and Organizing