Canada's spy agency is looking at this week's hijacking of a truck loaded with $500,000 worth of nickel pellets.

OPP Sgt. Harry Carrigan yesterday confirmed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had made inquiries about Thursday morning's strange hijacking by at least two young men.

"I don't know what their interest is," Carrigan said of the agency, which probes national security breaches, including terrorism.

CSIS spokesperson Barbara Campion said she couldn't confirm or deny the agency was looking into the incident.

The hijackers are now the subject of an OPP-led manhunt.

"We have the truck. We have a knife. And we have fingerprints," Carrigan said.

Police aren't certain whether the gravel truck was commandeered for its cargo or for the truck, Carrigan said.

The truck was abandoned an hour after the driver was overpowered at knifepoint at an Esso service centre on Highway 400 near Major Mackenzie Dr. on Thursday about 3 a.m.

"It's not too strange if they did it for the truck," Carrigan said. "But if they did it for the contents, then that's kind of strange because the nickel pellets would need to be refined at a factory."

An Inco spokesperson said the pellets are used primarily to make stainless steel, but a refining plant would be needed and it would have been difficult for the hijackers to get across the border.

Carrigan said investigators checked the cargo to see whether drugs or anything else might have been hidden under the pellets, but that nothing was discovered.

The trucker, whose identity hasn't been released, escaped after a brief struggle with his captors, jumping out of the vehicle as it pulled over to the side of the road on Highway 401 near Mill St. in Clarington at about 4 a.m.

The truck driver, on his regular route, started out in Sudbury from Inco Ltd. and was bound for an Inco processing plant in West Virginia.