Musselwhite team wins Ontario Mine Rescue contest

From June 7 to 9, Ontario Mine Rescue hosted the provincial competition at Vale’s Creighton mine in Sudbury, Ont., and announced the […]
The Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition was held during June 7-9, with the underground tasks being hosted by Vale’s Creighton mine in Sudbury. Credit: Workplace Safety North

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From June 7 to 9, Ontario Mine Rescue hosted the provincial competition at Vale’s Creighton mine in Sudbury, Ont., and announced the winners at a banquet on the final evening.

“The invitation-only event marks the final month of the annual mine rescue volunteer training cycle, and the provincial competition brings together all of the district winners and challenges them to resolve an advanced mine emergency," Ted Hanley, VP of Ontario Mine Rescue, stated in a news release.

Unlike the district competitions, which are held in spectator-friendly hockey arenas with a maze of simulated mine workings constructed on the arena floor, the provincial competition sends teams into an actual operating underground mine.

“Spectators viewed the teams via camera feed to surface, as each team navigates the mine and attempts to solve a variety of mine hazards using their knowledge, skills and abilities to evacuate the workers trapped underground and restore the mine to safe working conditions. Skills are tested in as realistic a scenario as possible to help ensure they are prepared for future mine emergencies," Hanley added.

Technical judges hidden throughout the mine evaluate teams against a pre-determined list of criteria based on the policies and procedures of the provincial mine rescue guidelines.

The scenario this year included the construction of ventilation infrastructure, the application of first aid to injured miners, the use of specialty mine rescue equipment, and the challenge of detecting contaminated mine ventilation and making it safe.

“Ontario Mine Rescue is proud to report that all seven of the highly skilled participating teams successfully resolved the emergency,” said Hanley. “Each team is evaluated on the strength of their strategy and use of safe procedures.”

The winners of this year’s event The team from Newmont's Musselwhite gold mine, went home with the coveted gold hard hats. The team included captain Jack Lawson, #2 Taylor Polng, #3 Alexa Dumaine, #4 Scott Lawson, vice-captain Pilip Mullin, #6 Jimmy Sinclair, briefing officer Ryan Lepage, and #7 Nick Gosselin. They were coached by Chris Horde and Gabe Roy. The mine's rescue officers are Kurtis Atkinson and Jeff Farquharson. The team firefighting and special equipment awards also went to the Musselwhite team.

The second overall team was from Impala Canada's Lac des Iles mine. The team first aid award and the team theory exam award both went to Lakeshore Gold's Timmins West and Bell Creek mines.

Also competing were teams from Barrick Hemlo's Williams mine, Alamos Gold's Young-Davidson mine, and Compass Minerals' Goderich mine, Southern district

Awards for individual technical competition placements were also made: first place to Garry Bennett of Alamos Gold's Young-Davidson mine; second place to Jean Yves Doiron of Vale Sudbury Operations; and third place to Darren Bullied of Evolution Mining's Red Lake gold mines. Others competing for individual rewards were Monika Jorgenson of Impala Canada's Canada Lac des Isles mine, James Greer of Wesdome Gold Mines' Eagle River mine, Michael Bennett of Glencore's Kidd mine, and Jim Ahrens, Compass Minerals' Goderich mine.

The Ontario Mine Rescue competition is sponsored by Workplace Safety North. To learn more, visit www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/subsite/mine-rescue/competitions.

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