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Provincial mining competition takes over a Greater Sudbury arena

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The Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena in the Greater Sudbury community of Azilda last week turned out to be a popular place as miners from across the region gathered to compete in the Ontario Mine Rescue District Competition.

From May 8-10 mine rescue teams from across the province to their skills to the test by competing in the Ontario Mine Rescue District Competition at the Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena in the Greater Sudbury community of Azilda. (Supplied/Workplace Safety North)

Mine rescuers from the Sudbury and Onaping districts were invited to come out and put their skills to the test in both written theory tests and practical exercises, with the best-of-the-best going on from here to compete in the provincials.

“So this is a very interesting project for us, just a lot of building that goes with weeks of preparation just in developing the problem, finding out how we’re going to roll out the problem, getting all of the supplies here and then we build a makeshift mine in the middle of an arena,” said Scott Gillett, a mine rescue officer with the Sudbury/Onaping district.

The competitions create simulated underground emergencies where teams are evaluated on their firefighting skills, first-aid response, use of emergency equipment and decision-making ability under stress. It also extends to a written theory exam and an assessment of technical who service vital emergency response equipment.

“We applied special coverings to competitors masks to emulate decreased visibility,” said Shawn Rideout, chief mine rescue officer at Workplace Safety North.

“This prepares teams for heavy smoke conditions present with large underground fires – communication skills and teamwork are vital in these situations.”

From May 8-10 mine rescue teams from across the province to their skills to the test by competing in the Ontario Mine Rescue District Competition at the Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena in the Greater Sudbury community of Azilda. (Supplied/Workplace Safety North)

Rideout added that organizers are always finding new ways to challenge the teams.

“The scenarios go from extracting casualties trapped in collapses to descending a mine shaft with rope gear,” he said.

Rideout said the live-action experiences are the best way to be able to put their knowledge to the test.

From May 8-10 mine rescue teams from across the province to their skills to the test by competing in the Ontario Mine Rescue District Competition at the Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena in the Greater Sudbury community of Azilda. (Supplied/Workplace Safety North)

“It’s tremendously important to our community, just due to the fact that we practice our mine rescue procedures, our mine rescue tactics very, very heavily. The calibre of mine rescuer that comes out of these procedures and practices are at a very, very high level,” said Gillett.

From May 8-10 mine rescue teams from across the province to their skills to the test by competing in the Ontario Mine Rescue District Competition at the Dr. Edgar Leclair Arena in the Greater Sudbury community of Azilda. (Supplied/Workplace Safety North)

Members of the public were invited to come out and watch the district competitions for a chance to see the trained volunteers in action.

Eight teams of mine rescue volunteers from Algoma, Kirkland Lake, Sudbury, Onaping, Thunder Bay, Red Lake, Timmins and Southern Ontario emerged victorious during the competition.

The winners

The winners of each district are as follows:

Algoma District

Alamos Island Gold Mine

Captain Kaiden Harrietha, #2 Dominic Jean, #3 Evan Barley, #4 Jacob Paskus, Vice Captain Jessy DeChamplain, #6 Daniel Webb, Briefing Office Joel Labbe #7 Ben Eppert

Winning technician: Kyle Ouellette

Sudbury District

Vale West Mine

Captain Chris Charbonneau, #2 Roch Berthiaume, #3 Shawn Barrette, #4 Madison Tracey, Vice Captain Dustin McKinnon, #6 Patricia Gagne, BO Lorne Beleskey, #7 Brian Reeves

Winning technician: Nick Fram

Onaping District

Glencore SINO Fraser and Nickel Rim South Mines

Captain Julien Lalande, #2 Aaron Boutet, #3 Neil Poulin, #4 Alyssa Spry, Vice Captain Jesse Legault, #6 Shawn O’Brien, BO Bleir Millions

Winning technician: Dan Rioux

Thunder Bay District

Impala Lac Des Isles Mine

Captain Dillon Bradley, #2 Kyle Barbeau, #3 Christopher Strom, #4 Connor O'Limb, Vice Captain Devin Jackson, #6 Christopher Forsyth, BO Manuel Manero

Winning technician: Monika Jorgensen

Red Lake District

Evolution Mining Red Lake Operations

Captain Scott McKean, #2 Tyler Lorenzini, #3 Geoff Taylor, #4 Jeff Merkel, Vice Captain David Zapora, #6 Carl Grondin, BO Rob Nylund

Winning technician: Gabriel Roy

Timmins District

Lakeshore Gold West Bell Creek Mines

Captain Adam Weagle, #2 Shane Sullivan, #3 Brandon Duhan, #4 Andrew MacIvor, Vice Captain Natalie Lafontaine, #6 Serge Roy, BO Tyler Williams

Winning technician: Mike Bennett

Kirkland Lake District

Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine

Captain Nicholas Perrier, #2 Jackson Lafrance, #3 Jean-Francois Racine, #4 Denis Dion, Vice Captain Hubert Gour, #6 Carlie Dewar, BO April Belecque, #7 Colin Price

Winning technician: Garry Bennett

Southern District

CGC Hagersville Mine

Captain Joshua Stringer, #2 Scott Walton, #3 Charles Heaslip, #4 Ashlee Reitsma, Vice Captain Steve Wilkieson, #6 Allen Barber, BO Paul Hunt

Winning technician: Matt Peebles

The winner of each district will go on to vie for the coveted gold hardhats at the 2024 Provincial Competition which is being held June 4 - 7 at Fort Williams Gardens Arena in Thunder Bay, Ont. 

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