Hundreds of litres of diesel fuel has spilled onto the ground at the Minto mine as a result of human error.
The spill took place 1.5 kilometres northeast of the headwaters to Minto Creek on Aug. 12, according to a report on the Yukon Water Board’s public registry of water licensing documents.
The copper-gold mine is located 240 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse, closest to the community of Pelly Crossing. It is owned by the Minto Metals Corp.
A memo dated Aug. 13 from environment manager Shawn Horte of Minto Explorations Ltd. outlines the spill, which is a reportable incident and has been reported to the Yukon Spill Report Centre. The memo was sent to the Yukon government, Environment Canada and Climate Change and Selkirk First Nation.
In the memo, approximately 2,000 litres of diesel fuel poured from the underground fuel tank farm near the mine’s underground portal during a routine tank fill up done by Chieftain Energy.
The memo lays out the outcome of the investigation into the spill.
Most of the spilled diesel was contained within containment liners installed beneath the fuel tank; however, some splashed out.
The contaminated material has been sampled and will be taken out and put into the mine’s land treatment facility or shipped off the site, depending on contamination levels, the memo states. It goes on to say that excavated areas will be sampled to confirm that all impacted material has been removed.
Along with Chieftain Energy, the mine is undergoing a root-cause analysis of the spill and will be making changes to procedures to avoid incidents of this nature in the future.
The spill report provides a brief description of the cause of the spill, which occurred when the operator of the Chieftain Energy truck misread the Chieftain Energy-provided log sheet and overshot the capacity of the fuel tank while filling up an above-ground storage tank.
In the report, the estimated cost of the spill is $20,000.
On March 22, a punctured tote of waste oil resulted in approximately 1,000 litres of oil being spilled more than two kilometres from the mine’s final discharge point to Minto Creek. A report related to the March spill indicates there is “no reason to believe that any water was impacted.”
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org