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Musselwhite Mine tops in Ontario Mine Rescue Competition

Tahoe Canada, Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines Technicians were the overall runners-up
Award Trophy
Stock image



Mine rescue volunteers from Goldcorp Canada Musselwhite Mine earned more than gold hard hats from Ontario Mine Rescue, a part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), as the overall winners of the 68th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition in Goderich this week.

Goldcorp Musselwhite Mine, a fly-in/fly-out mine approximately 480 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, also won the Firefighting Award and the Special Equipment Award during the closing banquet Friday, June 9. The team won the Red Lake District competition in Red Lake in May.

The Musselwhite mine rescue team consisted of Captain Chris Horde, Andrew Legree, Steve Godin, Ryan Lepage, Holly Robinson, Robin Jilks, Kylan Pickett and Briefing Officer Brad Towle.

Ron Weaver, mine rescue technician for Vale Canada, West Mines in Sudbury won the award for top technician. Weaver won the Sudbury District competition in May.

During this week’s event, seven teams from across Ontario, selected in district competitions, were evaluated on their knowledge, firefighting skills, first aid response, use of emergency equipment and decision-making ability under stress in an underground simulated emergency at Compass Mineral’s Goderich Mine.

During the two-day event, teams answered a “mutual aid” call from the Goderich Mine, responding to a series of emergency incidents. The teams, most from hard rock mines getting their first taste of soft rock mining, were accompanied by a guide from the Goderich mine rescue team, as incidents were spread over the expanse of the world’s largest operating salt mine, which stretches six kilometres out under Lake Huron, 1,800 feet underground.

The incidents included a worker who had fallen 20 metres from a catwalk to the top of a 30-metre stockpile of salt; a miner suffering a broken leg on a walkway at the top of a two-storey bin of salt; and a driver thrown and pinned to the ground by his forklift when it was struck and overturned by a haultruck. During the activities, teams also had to fight a fire, and faced a startling, simulated methane explosion.

Mine rescue competitions, which started in 1950, are as much intensive learning opportunities as a chance to test emergency response capabilities. The competitions ensure that mine rescue volunteers across the province are trained to the same high standards.

Mine rescue team members, the backbone of Ontario Mine Rescue, are volunteer mine workers trained by Mine Rescue Officers to respond to all types of mine emergencies including fires, explosions and falls of ground.

Competing mine rescue teams represented the Canadian Gypsum Company, Hagersville Mine (Southern District); Goldcorp Canada, Musselwhite Mine (Red Lake District); North American Palladium, Lac des Iles Mine (Thunder Bay and Algoma District); Tahoe Canada, Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines (Timmins District); Kirkland Lake Gold, North Complex – Holt-McDermott and Taylor Mines (Kirkland Lake District); Glencore Sudbury INO, (Onaping District); and Vale Canada Ltd., West Mines (Sudbury District).

Awards presented:

First overall – Goldcorp Canada, Musselwhite Mine
Overall runner-up – Tahoe Canada, Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines Technicians
1st – Ron Weaver, Vale Canada, West Mines
2nd – Rick Reid, K+S Windsor Salt, Ojibway Mine
3rd – Simone Hensher, Glencore Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operation Team Firefighting – Goldcorp Canada, Musselwhite Mine

Team First Aid – North American Palladium, Lac des Iles Mine
John Guthrie Award (Special Equipment) – Goldcorp Canada, Musselwhite Mine

This year’s competition was hosted by Compass Minerals, Goderich Mine. The event was sponsored by: Drager Safety; T’NT Work and Rescue; Technica Mining; Cementation; Komatsu; Milwaukee Tools; Tahoe Canada; DMC Mining Services; Acklands Grainger; Levitt Safety; North American Palladium; Timmins Garage; and Gardiner’s Transport.

Ontario Mine Rescue is a part of Workplace Safety North, which provides products and services to promote workplace health and safety in the mining, forestry, and paper, printing and converting industries, as well as workplaces across Ontario.