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Sudbury to host the 'Olympics of the mining world'

Mayor declares August Mine Rescue Month in Sudbury

Later this month, Sudbury will host what organizers call the “Olympics of the mining world” with the 2016 International Mines Rescue Competition.

To celebrate the competition, which will bring 28 mine rescue teams from 13 countries to Greater Sudbury to compete in six mine rescue events, Sudbury

Mayor Brian Bigger declared August Mine Rescue Month in the city.

“It is a great honour to welcome the 2016 International Mines Rescue Competition to Sudbury,” Bigger said.

Established in 1998, the International Mines Rescue Competition is a biennial event that pits the world's best mine rescue teams against each other as they test their ability to rescue people underground, put out fires and practice first aid in a stressful environment. 

The 2016 event will the first time a Canadian city hosts the competition.

“It will be our turn to show the world how we do things,” said Tom Hopkins, captain of KGHM's Mine Rescue team in Sudbury.

Hopkins and a few of his teammates participated in the 2014 International Mines Rescue Competition in Poland, where he said he learned a lot about the different techniques mine rescue teams use around the world. 

Judges will determine how well teams perform by looking at the specific tasks they achieve in each event, and by judging the procedures, or how well they perform a task like safely rescuing a mine worker from an underground emergency. 

Candys Ballanger-Michaud, the CEO of Workplace Safety North, which has helped organize the competition, said competitors will perform some tasks in an actual underground mine for the first time in international competition.

Vale has lent its 114 Ore Body to the competition, where the 28 teams will do their best to complete different mine rescue scenarios. 

While spectators won't be allowed at the mine site, due to safety reasons, Ballanger-Michaud said the event will be broadcast live to large screens at the Copper Cliff Club.

Other events will take place at surface, at Dynamic Earth, and will be open to spectators. 

More information for spectators, including shuttle buses to various events, is available on the competition's official website.

Seven Canadian teams will compete in the competition, including two from Sudbury – the Sudbury Basin Cobras from KGHM and the Vale West Mines team.

Teams from around the world will start to arrive in Sudbury on Aug. 19, and the competition officially kicks off with an opening ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 21, and ends with a closing ceremony on Friday, Aug. 26.


Jonathan Migneault

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