Best wishes to Ontario mine rescue champs entering international competition

Posted on Wednesday September 03, 2014

Let’s all hope Ontario’s 2014 mine rescue winners from Vale Canada’s East Mines find success at the ninth international mine rescue competition being held in Poland.   The group from Vale, which includes Sudbury captain Lorne Plouffe, Will Davies, Justin Whitmore, Jonathan Hamilton, Fred Pelletier, Aime Gagnon, Jean Yves Doiron, Perry Simon and Mike Johnson, won the 64th annual Ontario provincial mine rescue overall event in June in Timmins.

Now, these mine rescue volunteers are off to test their skills against teams from other countries.  The event in Poland is being held from September 6 to 13, 2014 in Katowice.  Past international competitions have been held in Ukraine, Australia, United States and China.  The squad from Sudbury can expect to be engaged in friendly and constructive competition with similar teams from Australia, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Turkey, China and elsewhere.

Tomorrow, Vale Canada will be holding a special send off for its mine rescue team.  On Thursday, September 4, at the Stobie Mine complex in Sudbury, a mine rescue demonstration, which will be followed by a barbecue, is scheduled to propel the Ontario winners across the Atlantic Ocean with good wishes into the next level of competition.

There are a number of components to the mine rescue program in Poland.  Along with a simulated mine rescue, there are tests in measuring equipment, using breathing apparatus, first aid, emergency provisions and the theoretical knowledge of mine rescue. 

Ontario Mine Rescue, which has its headquarters in Sudbury, was created in 1929.  As part of Workplace Safety North, 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.  WSN provides products and services to promote workplace health and safety in mining, forestry and paper, printing and converting industries, as well as workplaces across Northern Ontario.

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.

Last fall, Ontario hosted the sixth International Mine Rescue Body (IMRB) conference in Niagara Falls and Sudbury from October 5 to 13. More than 160 delegates from 12 nations attended this international conference.

Vale operates six nickel-copper mines in the Sudbury area – Totten, Creighton, Stobie, Garson, Coleman and Copper Cliff North – a smelter and refinery.  Vale Canada Limited, which directly employs about 4,000 people, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Brazilian company Vale.  Vale’s nickel mining and metals division is headquartered in Toronto.