By COLLEEN KLEVEN
Echoes of victory cries can still be heard in the hallways of Laurentian University.
When the dust settled at the 2005 Canada Mining Games in Sudbury, the LU team had defended their 2004 championship. The win is their fifth in seven years.
Dustin VanDoorselaere is captain of the Laurentian University Canada Mining Games team.
“This year’s win felt excellent,” he says. “It was a huge surprise to us because we went in with a team of rookies; mainly first- and second-year students. Only four of our twelve teammates had competed before, and that was only last year.”
The Canada Mining Games is an annual competition, with ten teams usually competing.
Mining students are tested on their problem-solving skills, with an emphasis on teamwork. Various scenarios are presented, and in a matter of seconds the teams have to come up with an effective plan and carry it out.
This year’s 15th annual event was held in Sudbury, the ideal location according to Dr. Ramesh Subramanian, associate professor in chemical engineering at Laurentian University.
“We’ve got a fantastic mining program here,” he enthuses. “It’s no surprise that our students represent the university so well. This city is the mining capital of Canada. We don’t have to travel very far to hold these events in an actual mine.”
That is exactly what Laurentian did. They created a series of challenges and held them at off-campus locations.
One such event was a simulated mine rescue scenario, set up in the old timbered section at Dynamic Earth.
A fog machine created the illusion of smoke, while teams were timed and graded on the successful rescue of “injured miners.”
Going to school in a mining town has its advantages, says David Duffy, Canada Mining Games co-organizer.
“Laurentian University students who want to go see anything relating to a mine underground can just hop in a car and drive 10 minutes. With Queen’s
University (in Kingston) or the University of Alberta, they have to organize big, long trips. Some of the third-year students from other universities had never actually been underground until they went to Dynamic Earth to compete in this year’s games.”