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Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc. Cyanide Water Spill

ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
Division of Spill Prevention and Response
Prevention and Emergency Response Program

SITUATION REPORT: Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc. Cyanide Water Spill
SITREP # 1
SPILL #: 12309923602

TIME/DATE OF DISTRIBUTION: 5:00 p.m. August 24, 2012

POTENTIAL RESPONSIBLE PARTY (PRP): Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc.

INCIDENT LOCATION: Fort Knox Gold Mine, Fairbanks, Alaska

TIME/DATE OF SPILL: Fort Knox reported the spill to ADEC at 9:51 p.m. on August 23, 2012

HOW/WHEN SPILL WAS DISCOVERED: The spill was discovered by a heavy equipment operator at approximately 9:00 p.m.

TYPE/AMOUNT OF PRODUCT SPILLED: Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc. estimates that approximately 45,000 gallons of cyanide water solution were released onto the mine roadway of the heap leach operation. Much of the spill area overlies the lined area of the heap leach pile, which is a tailings impoundment of materials that will be treated with the cyanide water solution.

  (PHOTO: State of Alaska DEC)

Damaged section of pipeline

 

CAUSE OF SPILL: A heavy-equipment operator working in the area of a buried cyanide solution pipeline inadvertently damaged a 12-inch supply line with a bulldozer ripper blade.

SOURCE CONTROL: Operators turned off pumps supplying solution to the pipeline and isolated the damaged section by closing off valves.

  (PHOTO: State of Alaska DEC)

Gravel berm on left side of roadway to separate spill area from vehicular traffic.

 

RESPONSE ACTION: Operators used heavy equipment to create a raised berm along the spill area to prevent migration of the solution and isolate the area from vehicular traffic. Contaminated soils were loaded into dump trucks and transported to the heap leach pile for processing. The area is being surveyed to determine the exact size of the impacted area. An ADEC responder conducted an initial site visit and will monitor the progress of the cleanup.

RESOURCES AFFECTED: Gravel mine roads

FUTURE PLANS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc. will continue the cleanup of contaminated soils using heavy equipment and will submit a sampling and analysis plan for ADEC review and approval.

WEATHER: Mostly cloudy, 59°F, calm winds

UNIFIED COMMAND AND PERSONNEL:
Incident Commander: Mark Huffington, Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc.
SOSC: Tom DeRuyter, ADEC
FOSC: Robert Whittier, EPA
Field SOSC: Paul Lhotka, ADEC

TIME/DATE OF NEXT SITUATION REPORT: As condition warrants.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Lhotka, Environmental Program Specialist, ADEC (907) 451-2175

AGENCY/STAKEHOLDER NOTIFICATION LIST: This situation report was distributed to the agencies listed on the standard distribution list, which includes the governor’s office, Senator Begich’s office, State Emergency Operations Center, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other state agencies.

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