Newmont Mining Corps.’ Carlin Mine Rescue Team has become the first team from Nevada to win the top award at the National Mine Rescue Competition in August. The Carlin team, along with Newmont’s Midas mine rescue team, competed against 29 other teams from across the Untied States at this year’s event, held in Reno, NV.
“We congratulate our Carlin and Midas mine rescue teams on their successes at this and other competitions this year,” said Tom Kerr, senior vice president, Newmont North America. “We also thank our mining industry partners, including the Nevada Mining Association, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration and other mining companies, who provide the resources – namely, talented, experienced people – making it possible to continue holding this important event.”
The first two days of competition consisted of qualifying rounds in various skills exercises. Teams completed mock first-aid scenarios featuring live volunteers posing as injured patients. Individual team members took on a team technical challenge that tested their ability to check and set up safety apparatus. There was also a field problem in which each team had to carefully search for “missing miners” in a mock mine – represented by a course of piping, barriers and written descriptions of ventilation issues and other hazards. By the end of the qualification rounds, both the Carlin and Midas teams had secured top-10 positions, earning the opportunity to compete in the final field problem on the last day of the event.
In that final field scenario, the top-10 teams each went through a simulation involving multiple miners trapped in an underground shaft where smoke was reported. Carlin and Midas finished the scenario with only minimal deductions. In the end, the Carlin team was declared the national champions, giving it the distinction of being the first mine rescue team from Nevada to win that title.
The national competition is made possible through a collaborative effort among many different groups from the mining industry. “Even our Carlin Surface Mine Rescue Team chose to skip this year’s surface competition in Gillette, WY, so they could assist with this contest,” said Randy Squires, senior manager health safety and loss prevention/compliance. “It was good to see the surface and underground teams coming together to represent Newmont on a national stage.”
In recent years, Newmont’s mine rescue teams have worked to heighten their emergency preparedness through regular training and study. As the teams have trained and worked together more frequently, they have evolved from mine site-specific units into regional emergency support teams qualified to help each other, as well as teams from other mining companies around the state. They also participate with various county and state agencies in emergency response and training activities.
“With their increasing successes, including their stellar performances at this year’s Nationals, our mine rescue teams have garnered much attention from around the country,” said Kerr, noting that other trainers and teams from across the U.S. have consulted with, or observed, the Newmont mine rescue teams, with many returning home to lead their own teams to top-place finishes in other competitions.
“We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of our mine rescue teams and all our other internal emergency responders, and we applaud their important role in our safety journey,” Kerr said.