Mine rescue skills put to the test at annual event
From June 13 to 16, Ontario Mine Rescue hosted the provincial competition at the Canadian Gypsum Company (CGC) Hagersville Mine. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Hamilton on the final evening.
“We’re very proud to announce that Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines came out on top,” says Ted Hanley, Vice-President for Ontario Mine Rescue. “This invitation-only event marks the final stage of an intensive two month training and evaluation period for mine rescue teams in Ontario. The provincial competition brings together teams representing eight mining districts to a single host mine and challenges them to resolve an advanced mock mine emergency.”
Over the week, the eight district champion teams from across Ontario were evaluated on essential mine rescue work. This includes technical knowledge tested through written exams, as well as a variety of technical skills. Teams were tested on high-angle rope rescue, emergency management, advanced mine rescue breathing apparatus, and firefighting, as well as first aid response. The underground mock emergency scenario involved demanding physical work and decision-making ability under stress.
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 progress and work performed by teams via camera feed to surface.” says Hanley, “Each team navigates the mine and attempts to overcome a variety of mine hazards using their knowledge, skills, and abilities, evacuating the workers trapped underground and restoring 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 expert 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 rescue of a civilian who had fallen into the opening of a mine shaft, the assessment of unstable and collapsed mine workings using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), the extinguishment of an underground vehicle fire, and the extrication and evacuation of a mine worker who had become trapped in a mine collapse.
“Ontario Mine Rescue is proud to report that all eight of the highly skilled participating teams successfully resolved the emergency,” says Hanley. “Each team is evaluated on their ability to create a safe and effective emergency action plan, and on the speed and skill level with which they complete the rescue.”
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 - Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines
Captain Adam Weagle
#2 - Shane Sullivan
#3 – Brandon Duhan
#4 - Blade Cashmore
#5 (Vice Captain) Natalie Lafontaine
#6 - Serge Roy
Briefing Officer - Terry Roy
Coach - Jim Davis
Mine Rescue Officers - Jason Leger, Mat Johnson, Danny Taillefer
2nd Overall - Newmont, Musselwhite Mine
Individual Technician Competition results:
1st – Jean-Yves Doiron, Vale Sudbury East Mines, Sudbury District
2nd – Michael Bennett, Glencore Kidd Mine, Timmins District
3rd – Kyle Oullette, Alamos Gold, Island Gold Mine, Algoma District
Team Firefighting Award - Vale Sudbury East Mines
Team First Aid Award - Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser and Nickel Rim South Mines
Team Special Equipment Award (Rope Rescue) - Vale Sudbury East Mines
Team Theory Exam Award - Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser and Nickel Rim South Mines
Briefing Officer Award - Ryan Lepage, Newmont, Musselwhite Mine
Complete list of eight competing teams:
Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine (Kirkland Lake District)
Compass Minerals Goderich Mine (Southern District)
Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser- Nickel Rim South Mines (Onaping District)
Impala Canada Lac des Iles Mine (Thunder Bay District)
Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines (Timmins District)
Newmont Borden Mine (Algoma District)
Newmont Musselwhite Mine (Red Lake District)
Vale Sudbury East Mines (Sudbury District)
Individual competitors scoring perfect on written exam:
Alexa Dumaine (Newmont Musselwhite Mine)
Brad Kemp (Impala Canada Lac des Isles Mine)
Adam Weagle and Natalie Lafontaine (Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines)
Hubert Gour (Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine)
Julien Lalande and Jesse Legault (Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser-Nickel Rim South Mines)
The OMR program is 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 mine rescue responders.
Provincial competitions have been held since 1950 as a standardized evaluation to ensure all mines in the province follow the same strict mine rescue procedures. Competitions test each team’s emergency response capabilities and showcase the tremendous commitment mine rescue teams make for their mines and mining communities.
OMR was established in 1929, a year after an underground fire at the Hollinger Mine in Timmins claimed the lives of 39 miners. OMR has evolved since then into a full emergency response service for all mine emergencies including fires, explosions, falls of ground and the entrapment of miners.
A part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), OMR 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 ninety-four years.
To view competition photos, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/n0j9eu2izsrcp0hhr3yvs/h?dl=0&rlkey=vnhhg1fdc2a3wf26s9xesdzie
For more information about Ontario Mine Rescue, visit https://www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/subsite/ontario-mine-rescue