Teams from Thompson, Snow Lake, Lac du Bonnet and Flin Flon vying for provincial mine rescue title

The Vale Manitoba Operations mine rescue team will be in Flin Flon to compete in the Mining Association of Manitoba’s provincial mine rescue competition May 24-25 against teams from Hudbay operations in the host community and Snow Lake as well as the Tantalum Mining Corporation team from the Tanco mine in Lac du Bonnet.

The nine-member Thomspon team includes captain Marc Scaddan, #2 Justin Lefebvre, #3 Kurtis Arnold, #4 Tom Flett, vice-captain Joe Catarino, director of operations James Buchanan, technician Rob Chuipka, coach Kim Hayes and trainer Mike McDonald.

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The competition consists of an underground first aid rescue mission simulation and a written exam on the first day, followed by firefighting tests, the technicians competition and practical skills competitions including the jaws of life Jenga, stretcher relay and ring toss on the second day.

The winning team will earn the right to compete in the bi-annual National Western Region Mine Rescue Competition, which will take place in Fernie, B.C. in September.

Established in 1961 to test the completeness of mining companies’ emergency response plans and the expertise of mine rescue personel, Manitoba mine rescue competitions saw judges travel from site to site until 1970, when teams began travelling to a central location for the yearly competition. Mining companies began holding their own local competitions to pick who would represent them at provincials in 1974 and the technician competition was added in 1992 to test the knowledge of personnel who maintain mine rescue teams’ breathing apparatus.

The 2020 Manitoba provincial mine rescue competition will take place at Vale Manitoba Operations in Thompson May 22-23.

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