Defective safety valve, improper training to blame for Agnico Eagle diesel spill

A defective safety valve and employees who were not properly trained are to blame for a 30,000 litre diesel spill at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine mine site, according to preliminary findings of an internal investigation into the leak.

The company announced the findings in an information bulletin Friday. Cleanup crews have been working at the site, near the Nunavut community of Rankin Inlet, since the fuel leaked from a hose connected to a 100,000-litre fuel storage tank on April 8.

"Preliminary findings from the investigation indicate that the spill occurred due to a defective safety valve on the storage tank, as well as inadequate operating procedures and insufficient training," the bulletin reads. "Agnico Eagle has begun implementing corrective measures."

Agnico Eagle originally said that the spill was expected to be cleaned up early last week, but blizzard conditions delayed cleanup from April 11 to April 13. Cleanup is expected to be completed this week.

According to the site's general manager, the diesel did not reach any freshwater, and material affected by the spill has been excavated. 

In the bulletin, Agnico Eagle said they would provide another update once the cleanup has been completed.