Edmonton, Alta. – There is a large, but unquantified, amount of degraded/deteriorated dynamite in Alberta as a result of historic rules that permitted easy access to dynamite for farmers and ranchers – a lot of which is currently decaying in barns and fields. Over time the dynamite ‘weeps’ or ‘sweats’ chemicals which crystalize and form on the outside of the dynamite and can then pool in the bottom of boxes or storage containers. This creates an extremely dangerous situation where if the materials are jarred even the slightest the chemical becomes unstable and can possibly lead to detonation.
In addition to sticks of dynamite, it is important to note that copper detonators containing lead azide were produced in Canada from 1918 to 1965 and are still being stored in older homesteads within the province. If exposed to moisture these detonators can produce an explosive gas and the slightest change in environment can cause degradation in less than one hour leading to an extremely dangerous situation.
The RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit would like to urge Albertans to be cautious of what they find on their properties and to speak with elderly members of their families prior to clearing out older out-buildings in order to determine if there could be explosives on site. If you suspect that you may have some of these materials on your land call your local RCMP detachment, or police agency of jurisdiction, to have the materials safely disposed of. DO NOT touch or move the explosives yourself.