Ontario mine rescue competition winners announced

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Mine rescue skills put to the test at annual provincial competition

  Group of mine rescue volunteers holding trophy
  Ontario Mine Rescue 2022 provincial competition champion is Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District, from left to right: Vice Captain Philip Mullin, Briefing Officer Ryan Lepage, Alexa Dumaine, Jimmy Sinclair, Captain Jack Lawson, Nick Gosselin, Scott Lawson, and Taylor Poling.

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.”

  Ontario Mine Rescue volunteer during competition
  The 2022 Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition was held in June at the Vale’s Creighton Mine in Sudbury. Six teams tested their skills in a simulated mine rescue underground, with Compass Minerals Goderich Mine Captain David Kelly pictured above. The team from Newmont Musselwhite Mine won the coveted gold hardhats and trophy this year.

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:

Team Competition Results

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 and Bell Creek Mines, Timmins District

Team Special Equipment Award – Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District

Team Theory Exam Award – Lakeshore Gold Timmins West and 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.

For more information, visit https://www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/subsite/ontario-mine-rescue