Interest in global mine rescue event expands

Posted on Monday September 09, 2013

The interest from around the world in the sixth International Mine Rescue Body (IMRB) conference being hosted in Ontario this Fall continues to expand.  Registration for the event has now surpassed 200 delegates from 22 different nations  -- both numbers are higher than originally anticipated. 

The symposium portion of the event will be held in Niagara Falls from October 5 to 10, 2013 and the field trip component will be held in Sudbury from October 10 to 13.   The IMRB conference is being hosted by the Canadian Association of Chief Inspectors of Mines, Canadian mine rescue organizations – including Ontario’s -- and the Canadian mining industry in general.  Several Ontario Mining Association members are participating in and supporting the conference and field trip.

“We have 37 presentations covering a wide range of mine rescue topics from every corner of the world,” reports Alex Gryska, Director Mine Rescue for Workplace Safety North in Ontario.  He advises that people can still participate in the symposium and field trips through the late registration route. 

General topics to be discussed in Niagara Falls include emergency preparedness and response planning, crisis management, effective mine rescue training, emerging rescue technologies and mine rescue research.  Also up for discussion is the case for developing an international mine rescue code of practice to set minimum standards and facilitate assistance between and among countries in the case of emergencies.  

The field trip involves a number of mine tours, educational sessions and a trade show.  This part of the program is being sponsored by Vale, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations – a Glencore Company, KGHM International, the City of Sudbury and Workplace Safety North (WSN).

The purpose of the IMRB is to promote mine rescue operations and cooperation and to share knowledge and experience.  The event is designed for mine rescue professionals and volunteers. The organization started to formulate in 2001 at a gathering of mine rescue experts in Poland.

This led to the creation of the IMRB.  Subsequent, bi-annual conferences have been held in South Africa (2003), Australia (2005), United States (2007) Czech Republic (2009) and China (2011).  Further information on the IMRB 2013 event is available on the website www.IMRB2013.ca.

Ontario Mine Rescue, which has its headquarters in Sudbury, was created in 1929.  As part of WSN, Ontario Mine Rescue has trained and equipped thousands of volunteers to fight fires, rescue injured personnel and respond to a variety of incidents in the province’s mines.  

The organization equips and maintains a network of mine rescue stations across the province to strengthen and ensure emergency response capabilities. Ontario Mine Rescue holds annual regional and provincial competitions.  This province’s mine rescue organization has served as a leader for establishing specialized safety and training programs in other Canadian jurisdictions and other countries.