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Thunder Bay, Red Lake mines take annual mine rescue competition

Vale miner takes second in individual technician competition

The best mine rescue teams in Ontario converged on Sudbury’s Creighton Mine for the annual mine rescue competition last week.

The provincial contest was held June 7 to June 9 and saw Vale's East Mine – the Sudbury district champion for 2022 – competing against teams from Kirkland Lake district, Timmins district, Thunder Bay district, Red Lake district, Algoma district and the Southern Ontario district.

While the district competitions were held in hockey arenas, the provincewide event actually puts teams underground into an actual operating mine, in this case Vale’s Creighton Mine.

“Spectators viewed the teams via camera feed to surface,” said Ted Hanley, vice president of Ontario Mine Rescue. “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.”

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, Mine Rescue said in a news release. 

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. 

This year provincial champions and winners of the coveted golden hard hats were: 

Team Competition

Provincial Champion: 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

Second Overall: Impala Canada Lac des Isls Mine, Thunder Bay District

Team Firefighting Award

  • Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District

Team First Aid Award

  • Lakeshore Gold Timmins West & Bell Creek Mines, Timmins District

Team Special Equipment Award

  • Newmont Musselwhite Mine, Red Lake District

Team Theory Exam Award 

  • Lakeshore Gold Timmins West & 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

The Ontario Mine Rescue program has been in operation since 1929.