Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 24, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Fuel spill clean up at Nunavut mine site complete, soil awaits testing

Agnico Eagle says it has replaced defective tank

Workers emerge from the ramp that leads to Meliadine's underground pit in the summer of 2014. (FILE PHOTO)
Workers emerge from the ramp that leads to Meliadine's underground pit in the summer of 2014. (FILE PHOTO)

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. says it has completed a preliminary clean-up of its Meliadine gold mine site, a bit more than two weeks after a 30,000-litre fuel spill at the Nunavut site.

The land surrounding the spill has been excavated and moved to storage into Meliadine’s approved land farm, the company said April 24, while soil samples undergo analysis to ensure the area is free of hydrocarbons.

Agnico Eagle said it is working on a remediation plan to treat the material impacted by the spill.

Agnico Eagle has maintained the leak did not reach fresh water sources on the site, 24 kilometres outside of Rankin Inlet.

The mining company said its investigation indicates the April 8 leak was caused by a defective safety valve in the storage tank as well as “insufficient training.”

But Agnico Eagle said it has already put in place corrective measures: the defective tank has been removed from service and replaced with a top-discharge tank.

The company said it has stopped using similar fuel tanks on the property in its day-to-day operations, and will replace them with permanent infrastructure later this year.

Finally, the company said it has revised some operating procedures while it offers additional training to any Meliadine employees involved in fueling on-site.

Agnico Eagle recently announced plans to move ahead on its Meliadine project, which will be its second gold mine in the territory.

The company said in February that it plans to invest $900 million over the next three years to bring Meliadine into commercial production by 2019, along with a new deposit at its nearby Meadowbank gold mine.

The company estimates Meliadine’s lifespan at 14 years, during which time it expects to produce at least 5.3 million ounces of gold.

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