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Vale snags trio of awards at Ontario Mine Rescue Competition

Sudbury well-represented at 2018 competition
Vale mine rescue team
Sudbury's mine rescue teams had a strong showing at the 2018 Ontario Mine Rescue Competition, taking home multiple awards. (File)

Sudbury's mine rescue teams had a strong showing at the 2018 Ontario Mine Rescue Competition, taking home multiple awards.

Vale Canada East Mines was the overall runner-up in the seven-team competition, while taking home first place in both the team firefighting and team first aid categories.

Mine rescue volunteers from Tahoe Canada Timmins West & Bell Creek Mines did not earn the most silverware, but they did earn gold hard hats as the overall winners of the 69th annual provincial competition in Matachewan, near Kirkland Lake.

The Tahoe Canada rescue team consisted of: Capt. Adam Weagle, #2 Sylvain Falardeau, #3 Nick Schwehr, #4 Mat Johnson, Vice-capt. Pierre Gagne, #6 Rick Martin, and Briefing Officer Terry Roy.

Simone Hensher, mine rescue technician for Glencore, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations won the award for top technician. Hensher, the first woman to win the top technician award, placed third in last year’s provincial competition.

During the week’s event, seven teams from across Ontario, selected in district competitions, and one team from Ireland 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 Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson Mine.

During the two-day event, teams responded to a series of emergency incidents, including building a barricade and using high expansion foam to extinguish a mine fire; and using rope rescue rigging to assist an injured and unconscious miner approximately 80 feet down a mine shaft.

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.

Award winners from the 2018 competition are as follows:

  • First overall – Tahoe Canada, Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines
  • Overall runner-up: Vale Canada East Mines 


  • 1st Simone Hensher, Glencore Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operation
  • 2nd Norm Gannon Jr., Kirkland Lake Gold, Macassa Mine
  • 3rd Jean-Yves Dorion, Vale Canada East Mines


  • Team Firefighting – Vale Canada East Mines
  • Team First Aid – Vale Canada East Mines
  • John Guthrie Award (Special Equipment) – KGHM
  • Theory Exam Award – North American Palladium, Lac des Iles Mine