The annual mine rescue competitions for the Timmins District and also the Kirkland Lake District, are taking place this week in Timmins at the Whitney Arena. The Timmins event will feature a local mine contracting company fielding a competition team for the first time.
The events are held each year in mining districts across the province to let mine rescue teams hone their skills, to ensure a high level of standardized training and to give winning teams the bragging rights for another year.
Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines is the current winning team in Timmins, having won the honours in the 2012 competition. Kirkland Lake Gold won the honours for its district, also at the 2012 competition.
The 2013 event began Monday morning with the technicians competition. Each mine rescue team has a technician who is expected to troubleshoot any problems that arise with the specialized equipment the teams use when they carry out their work in hostile underground situations.
The current defending champ for that role is Erik Barr of Goldcorp who last spring won the Timmins District technician’s trophy for the third year in a row. Barr also won the all-Ontario title for best technician.
Beginning on Wednesday and continuing on Thursday and Friday, the teams will take to the competition floor to tackle a mock emergency exercise. The mock emergency is created with conditions that simulate the underground mine environment with such things as injured miners, complete darkness, simulated poisonous smoke, heavy equipment hazards, electrical hazards and fires.
Each team is scored on how well its responds to the exercise, which in some cases can last three to four hours. Details of the actual exercise are not reported by the news media while the event is on, since it might have the effect of giving one team an advantage over another. Even a current photograph showing the layout of the mock exercise would give a trained observer the advantage of knowing what sort of mock emergency to expect.
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