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UPDATE: Access to Gibraltar Mine resumes near McLeese Lake

The area was closed for part of Tuesday, March 19 after truck hauling explosive material crashed
(DriveBC map)

Access to Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake is no longer restricted in and out of the mine after a truck hauling explosive material crashed early Tuesday morning, March 19.

Beaver Lake Road was closed at Highway 97 near McLeese Lake until noon as emergency crews responded to the incident, which turned out to be a fatality.

READ MORE: Fiery crash near Gibraltar Mine claims life of driver north of Williams Lake

Sean Magee, vice-president corporate affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd. the mine’s owner, confirmed the incident occurred in the early morning hours near the mine site, involving a third-party truck contracted to Orica Canada Inc., a mining services company.

Magee said the truck in the crash was not destined for Gibraltar, but to another industrial site in the Cariboo region.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, North District RCMP media relations, stated in a news release it was a single tank truck hauling explosive material.

“The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames,” Saunderson noted. “As a result, the Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) was contacted and a 1.6-kilometer radius was established.”

By noon Saunderson confirmed while the vehicle was no longer on fire, however, investigators are unable to get to the area for scene examination at this time.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and to ensure the safety of mine personnel, contractors and community members, an exclusion zone is being enforced that is restricting access to and from the mine site at this time, ” Magee said.

Acting Williams Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Josh Smith said police were called about the incident at around 4 a.m.

Because of the explosion risk at the scene police would remain there until the risk was mitigated, he added.

The exclusion zone will remain in place until it can be firmly established that no further risks to personal safety exist, Magee said.

DriveBC first reported the closure between Beaver Lake Road and Lagerquist Road about 30 km north of Wildwood.

Mine operations at Gibraltar have not been affected, Magee noted.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from Taseko Mines Ltd.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from Taseko Mines Ltd.

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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