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‘Small amount’ of potash spilled after train derailment near B.C.-Alberta border

Emergency responders attend to the scene of a train derailment in the eastern B.C. region of Fraser Fort George in a Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Train-Donal O'Beirne

A “small amount” of potash spilled at the site of a train derailment near the B.C.-Alberta border, CN and government officials confirmed Saturday.

Twenty-six cars derailed Thursday in multiple positions in Fraser-Fort George, B.C., about 30 kilometres east of Mount Robson, according to CN media relations senior advisor Alexandre Boulé.

B.C.’s Ministry of Environment said two cars containing potash ended up in Moose Lake, one of which was fully underwater while the other was partially submerged.

READ MORE: No injuries reported after 26 CN railcars derail in Fraser-Fort George, B.C.

However, the ministry said the cars have since been removed from the lake and most of the potash within the cars was contained.

A spokesperson later said it’s estimated up to 20 tonnes of potash spilled at the scene, which was between 15 and 20 per cent of the two cars’ cargo.

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As of Saturday morning, Boulé said the tracks had been reopened to rail traffic in both directions.

The ministry said cleanup at the site is ongoing and will continue for several more days, while a plan for recovering the spilled potash will be produced “over the next few days.”

READ MORE: TSB investigates train derailment near Lethbridge

The rail cars could still be seen on their sides close to Highway 16 on Saturday.

The cause of the derailment has still not been determined and is being investigated by CN.

No one was injured in the incident and no dangerous materials were involved.

“CN would like to thank first responders present at the scene of the incident and would also like to apologize for the inconvenience caused,” Boulé said.

READ MORE: Parked train started moving on its own before fatal B.C. derailment, TSB says

The ministry said it will “continue to monitor and liaise with CN staff through the weekend and following weeks” to ensure the site is cleaned up and remediated.

Global News has reached out to Transport Canada for more information.

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The B.C. Ministry of Transportation referred questions to its federal counterpart.

—With files from Slav Kornik and the Canadian Press

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