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Compass Minerals mine rescuers tops in Ontario

Crowned overall winners of the 67th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition
Teams tested their mine rescue skills in the 67th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition in Sudbury. The mine rescue team from Compass Minerals Goderich Mine was crowned with the gold hard hats. File photo.

Vale Canada, West Mines took the top spot for firefighting and Glencore Sudbury took the top spot team special equipment at the 67th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition in Sudbury, but it was mine rescue volunteers from Compass Minerals Goderich Mine that were crowned with the gold hard hats.

They were the overall winners of the 67th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition that took place June 9 and 10.
The Compass Minerals mine rescue team consisted of Captain Jim Ahrens, Briefing Officer Drew Anderson, Matt VandenHeuvel, Chris Lammerant, Jack Miller, Aaron Duckworth, Dennis Hogan, and Joel Paquette. The team won the Southern District competition in Goderich in May.

The team also won the Team First Aid Award, and by winning the overall competition earned a guaranteed entry into the 2016 International Mines Rescue Competition to be held in Sudbury in August.

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 simulated underground emergencies at the NORCAT Underground Centre (formerly Fecunis Mine) in Levack, near Sudbury.

Jason Leclair, mine rescue technician for Barrick Gold, Hemlo Operations, won the award for top technician. Leclair won the Thunder Bay/Algoma District competition in May. 

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. 

In the closing banquet, two mine rescue volunteers: Dick Shoemaker and Calvin Martin, both from Compass Minerals, Goderich Mine were honoured for 30 years of service to Ontario Mine Rescue.

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.

During the two-day exercise five-member teams had to find three missing miners, providing first aid to two; extinguish an underground fire; and using emergency extrication equipment rescue and provide first aid to a worker trapped in a surface vehicle.

Competing mine rescue teams represented Compass Mineral, Goderich Mine (Southern District); Goldcorp Canada, Red Lake Gold Mine (Red Lake District); North American Palladium, Lac des Iles Mine (Thunder Bay/Algoma District); Lake Shore Gold (Timmins District); Alamos Gold Ltd.’s Young-Davidson Mine (Kirkland Lake District); Glencore Sudbury INO, (Onaping District); and Vale Canada Ltd., West Mines (Sudbury District).

Awards presented:
First overall: Compass Minerals, Goderich Mine
Overall runner-up: Lake Shore Gold
Technicians: 1st Jason Leclair, Barrick Gold, Hemlo Operations; 2nd Drew Dalgleish, Compass Minerals, Goderich Mine; – 3rd Brian Melis, KGHM
Team Firefighting: Vale Canada, West Mines
Team First Aid: Compass Minerals, Goderich Mine
Team Special Equipment: Glencore Sudbury INO.

This year’s competition is co-hosted by Vale Canada Ltd., Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operation, and KGHM. The event is sponsored by Drager Safety; Fountain Tire; NORCAT; Day Group; Northern Medical Supply; Code 4 Fire and Rescue; Lake Shore Gold; Technica Mining; Zetec; SPI Health and Safety; Dumas Contracting Ltd.; DMC Mining Services; MSA; Acklands Grainger; Levitt Safety; Honeywell; North American Palladium - Lac des Iles Mine; Vallen; Pelican Products Inc.; Rocvent Inc.; Interconcrete Ltd.; and Miller Technology.