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Goldcorp takes top honours in mine rescue competition

Musselwhite rescue crew claims overall title in Goderich
Goldcorp Musselwhite mine rescue crew
Goldcorp's Musselwhite crew in action at the provincial mine rescue competition in Goderich (Workplace Safety North photo).

Mine rescue volunteers from Goldcorp Canada Musselwhite Mine were the top team at the 68th annual Provincial Mine Rescue Competition last week in

Besides earned gold hard hats as overall winners from Ontario Mine Rescue and Workplace Safety North, the crew 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.

Musselwhite is a fly-in/fly-out mine 480 kilometres from Thunder Bay.

The team consists of: 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.

Seven teams from across Ontario 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 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 haul truck.

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 are trained volunteer mine workers capable of responding 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 & 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).