From June 7 to 9, Ontario Mine Rescue hosted the provincial competition at Vale’s Creighton Mine in Sudbury 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,” says Ted Hanley, Vice President, Mine Rescue. “And the provincial competition brings together all of the district winners and challenges them to resolve an advanced mine emergency.”
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,” says Hanley, “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.”
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,” says Hanley. “Each team is evaluated on the strength of their strategy and use of safe procedures.”
The winners of this year’s event, with the Provincial Champions taking home the coveted gold hard hats, were as follows:
Provincial Champion – 1st Overall – Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District
Captain – Jack Lawson
#2 – Taylor Poling
#3 – Alexa Dumaine
#4 – Scott Lawson
Vice Captain – Philip Mullin
#6 – Jimmy Sinclair
Briefing Officer – Ryan Lepage
#7 – Nick Gosselin
Coaches – Chris Horde and Gabe Roy
Mine Rescue Officers – Kurtis Atkinson and Jeff Farquharson
2nd Overall – Impala Canada Lac des Isles Mine, Thunder Bay District
Team Firefighting Award – Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District
Team First Aid Award – Lakeshore Gold Timmins West & Bell Creek Mines, Timmins District
Team Special Equipment Award – Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District
Team Theory Exam Award – Lakeshore Gold Timmins West & Bell Creek Mines, Timmins District
Additional competing teams:
Barrick Hemlo Williams Mine, Algoma District
Alamos Gold Young-Davidson Mine, Kirkland Lake District
Compass Minerals Goderich Mine, Southern District
Onaping District – Did Not Qualify
Individual Technician Competition results:
1st – Garry Bennett, Alamos Gold, Young-Davidson Mine, Kirkland Lake District
2nd – Jean Yves Doiron, Vale Sudbury Operations, Sudbury District
3rd – Darren Bullied, Evolution Mining Red Lake Gold Mines, Red Lake District
Additional individual technician competitors:
Monika Jorgenson, Impala Canada Lac des Isles Mine, Thunder Bay District
James Greer, Wesdome Gold Mines Eagle River Mine, Algoma District
Michael Bennett, Glencore Kidd Mine, Timmins District
Jim Ahrens, Compass Minerals Goderich Mine, Southern District
In May, Shawn Rideout, Chief Mine Rescue Officer at Ontario Mine Rescue, and Stephanie Bleker, Manager of Vale Totten Mine, received the Mining Safety Leadership Medal from the Canadian Institute for Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum at its annual convention awards gala. The award was in recognition of the planning and execution of the safe evacuation of 39 miners from Vale’s Totten Mine, September 26-29, 2021.
Since 1929, the Ontario Mine Rescue program has been a standardized province-wide collaboration between all mine operators working to ensure emergency response capability and reduce the risk profile of the work performed by more than 900 Ontario volunteer responders.
Ontario Mine Rescue, a part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), has trained and equipped thousands of volunteers who have fought fires, rescued injured personnel, and responded professionally to a wide array of incidents in the province’s mines over the past eight decades.
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