Skip to content

Timmins mine rescue volunteers win provincial competition

Ontario Mine Rescue event marks 69th edition this year

Mine rescue volunteers from Tahoe Resources were declared the overall winners during the 69th annual Ontario Mine Rescue competition in Matachewan this week.

The winning team, comprised of participants from the Timmins West and Bell Creek mines, included captain Adam Weagle, Sylvain Falardeau, Nick Schwehr, Mat Johnson, vice-captain Pierre Gagne, Rick Martin, and briefing officer Terry Roy. The same group was the winning team during the Timmins District championships, held in May.

Coming in second place was the Vale Canada East Mines team, which was the championship from the Sudbury District. The team took home two additional awards for team firefighting and team first aid.

Simone Hensher, a 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 this 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.

Mine rescue team members, the backbone of Ontario Mine Rescue, are volunteer mine workers trained by mine rescue officers to respond to all types of mine emergencies including fires, explosions and falls of ground.

Competing mine rescue teams represented K+S Windsor Salt Ojibway Mine (Southern District); Goldcorp Canada, Musselwhite Mine (Red Lake District); North American Palladium, Lac des Iles Mine (Thunder Bay and Algoma District); Tahoe Canada, Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines (Timmins District); Kirkland Lake Gold, Holt and Taylor Mines (Kirkland Lake District); KGHM (Onaping District); and Vale Canada Ltd., East Mines (Sudbury District).

Awards presented:

  • First overall: Tahoe Canada, Timmins West and Bell Creek Mines
  • Overall runner-up: Vale Canada East Mines
  • Technicians:
    • First: Simone Hensher, Glencore Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations
    • Second: Norm Gannon Jr., Kirkland Lake Gold, Macassa Mine
    • Third: 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

This year’s competition was hosted by Alamos Gold Young-Davidson Mine. The event was sponsored by: Drager Safety; Technica Mining; Hard-Line; North American Palladium; T’NT Work & Rescue; Cementation; Komatsu; Tahoe Canada; DMC Mining Services; Epiroc; Miller Technology; Levitt Safety; G+ Plastics; Metso; Vipond Inc.; Alex MacIntyre and Associates; Goldbelt; The Bucket Shop; MacLean; Toromont, Matachewan First Nations; and Fountain Tire.

Ontario Mine Rescue is a part of Workplace Safety North, which provides products and services to promote workplace health and safety in the mining, forestry, and paper, printing and converting industries, as well as workplaces across Ontario.