Surfeit of sulphur at Alberta oilsands

Business Insider's Robert Johnson took some photos of the mountains of sulphur piling up in northern Alberta- part of the website's series on the Alberta oilsands.

Sulphur is a byproduct of refining oil and natural gas. According to Business Insider, as of 2006, 15 million tons of sulphur were heaped throughout the province. But getting rid of the stuff will be no easy task, with market conditions currently unfavourable, says BI:

Owners are stuck with a sulphur glut. Low prices in the marketplace and the burden of maintaining and neutralizing acidic water that runs off the sulphur blocks is no picnic. The cost to treat the runoff was up to $3.00 annually per ton a few years ago and demand does not look to be picking up any time soon.

Sulphur is mainly used in the production of fertilizer and sulphuric acid. It is also found in fireworks, gunpowder, matches, ointments and disinfectants.

Image of sulphur piles at the Port of Vancouver is by Shutterstock.