June 1, 2019 7:42 pm
Updated: June 3, 2019 7:33 am

Saskatchewan miners put emergency response skills to the test

WATCH: The 51st annual Emergency Response Mine Rescue Skills Competition saw 112 competitors competing in confined space rescue, first aid challenge and fire skills.

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Prairieland Park in Saskatoon hosted 112 miners from across the province on Saturday for the 51st annual Emergency Response Mine Rescue competition.

Sean Linten is helping organize some of the scenarios crews are working through. He said 16 mines sent their emergency response teams to compete and challenge their training skills.

READ MORE: Estevan, Sask. preparing for coal phase-out putting hundreds of jobs at risk


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“All of the different mining operations are represented,” he said. “It’s a great way for them to come out, test their skills and see some of the skills in the other mines.”

Saskatchewan is home to potash, coal, gold and uranium mines. It was only weeks ago that a fire at Nutrien’s Allan Potash mine trapped two dozen miners underground on May 15. Although no one was hurt, Linten said their emergency response teams need to stay sharp and ready for any danger.

WATCH: (May 15, 2019) Fire traps miners underground at Nutrien’s Allan, Sask., potash mine

“A lot of these mines have mutual aid agreements,” he said. “There could be an incident at one mine and these responders may respond to an incident that isn’t at their own mine.”

Brandon Schopp, a power engineer at the Westmoreland Estevan Mine and captain of its emergency response team, explained they have put their skills to the test throughout the competition.

READ MORE: Fire traps miners underground at Nutrien’s Allan, Sask., potash mine

“We’ve done a surface problem, confined space rescue, rope work,” he said. “We also did gas detection, a practical skills event like a motor vehicle accident and a hazmat first aid problem.”

Linten said the 112 competitors are all operators, engineers and tradespeople working at the mine who volunteer to take on emergency response roles.

“The great part about the competition is it gives them a reason to train,” he said. “We really hope they never have to use these skills.”

Saskatchewan mining operations employ over 12,000 people and want to ensure everyone makes it home safe at the end of the day.

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