Ekati says ‘12,000-litre diesel spill’ was a typo

Last modified: January 17, 2023 at 11:22am

A typo is to blame for an NWT diamond mine reporting a 12,000-litre diesel spill last month, staff involved say.

The spill, which happened on December 5, was the subject of a detailed report filed by the Arctic Canadian Diamond Company to environmental regulator the Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board.

That report, filed on December 28, was published to a public registry on Monday. In it, the company reports a that a frozen pipeline “had spilt an approximate 12,000 litres of diesel onto disturbed ground.”


“Tailings material likely froze in the pipe, causing a pressure build-up which ultimately resulted in the crack in the line,” mine environment advisor Peter Stepan wrote to the land and water board.

The spill spread over an area of 50 square metres between the nearby truck shop and process plant, Stepan said.

However, the spill was not, in fact, diesel, a staff member later told Cabin Radio by phone.

A typo – most likely introduced by copy-pasting elements of a previous report – meant Ekati reported a diesel spill when in fact, 12,000 litres of processed tailings had been spilt.

A separate spill record held by the NWT government appears to verify that tailings was spilt.


The remainder of the mine’s report filed in December is understood to be accurate. In that report, the company states it must wait until spring to clean the majority of the spill.

“A detailed clean-up strategy will be proposed early in the new year,” Stepan wrote.

“The site will be inspected on a weekly basis until any signs of thawing are apparent, upon which the clean-up program will commence.”