Thieves grab 10 boxes of explosives

The RCMP is continuing to investigate the theft of 250 kilograms of explosives from a Dyno Nobel magazine 50 kilometres outside of Whitehorse.

The RCMP is continuing to investigate the theft of 250 kilograms of explosives from a Dyno Nobel magazine 50 kilometres outside of Whitehorse.

Each box contained two cartridges of a putty-like explosive wrapped in white packaging with the word “Tovite” written in red on the tubes.

Tovite is the brand name of a non-cap sensitive water-gel explosive.

“Tovite is a general all-purpose cost-effective product designed for use in most blasting applications,” according to a product description on Dyno Nobel Canada’s website.

It’s described as “medium strength.”

“The products are used in construction and the speculation, based on what was taken, is that it was probably for mining,” said Chris May with Yukon Pump Sales and Service Ltd.

Yukon Pump is the agent that delivers the explosives around the Yukon for Dyno Nobel, an international company with locations in Canada, Australia and the US.

The explosives were stored in federally approved and regulated storage magazines located on private property leased by Dyno Nobel.

Regulations state the magazines must be located at least 820 metres from any occupied building, said May.

“The impression people get is that we have explosives in our building and that’s not true.”

May would not disclose the exact type of explosive that had been stolen.

“The less specific information, the better the investigation will go,” he said.

He calls them “highly specialized” and “non volatile.”

“Barring a fire, these products cannot explode in transport,” said May.

Detonating the explosives is a very complex process, he said.

“You would need some knowledge and highly specialized equipment.”

Another product is needed to detonate the explosive, and that product has not been stolen on the West Coast recently, said May.

The break-in happened sometime between 10:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 15.

Police got the call Tuesday at noon when a Dyno Nobel employee discovered the break-in and theft.

Police released a report of the theft to media on Wednesday at 11:40 a.m.

Two hundred and fifty kilograms is not a lot of explosives compared to orders that the company regularly fills for road construction, David McConnach, Dyno Nobel’s vice-president of sales and operations, said from BC.

“We deal in large amounts of explosives, all used for the public good.

“We’re not experts in how other people use the product.”

Could the explosives be used to take down a building?

“No,” answered McConnach.

“They’re explosives used in the construction and mining industry.

“They break rock using chemical energy; they’re powerful.”

Boxes shown in RCMP photographs distributed to the media are labelled as “Explosives, blasting, Type E.”

Inside the boxes are tubes, wrapped in white plastic, which are 13 centimetres wide and 91 centimetres long.

Each stolen box weighed nearly 25 kilograms, making the thieves’ total haul approximately 250 kilograms.

About 50 per cent of the weight is packaging, said May.

“They are packaged against impact or a truck crash or anything extreme like that.”

The explosives cost about $2 a kilogram, said McConnach.

Local RCMP ask anybody who may have witnessed any suspicious activity, or who comes across the stolen products, to contact the Whitehorse detachment at 667-5555 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.