Glencore’s Oaky Creek North mine has won the Australian Mines Rescue Competition at Cook Colliery.
In extreme weather conditions – where temperatures reached 39 degrees Celsius – the team held off strong opposition from eight other teams who had already won regional qualifying competitions to get to the finals.
Competing against three Queensland based teams, four New South Wales squads and one from Tasmania, the event included a mix of crisis scenarios, first aid and theory.
Made up of both underground and surface challenges, teams donned full underground kit, including breathing apparatus.
The first part of the competition consisted of four exercises on the surface of the mine and ran for about four hours.
Competing in an older section of the Cook Colliery, the teams endured a mixture of extreme humidity and dust and their vision was restricted to approximately three metres for some exercises.
Director of Glencore’s underground operations in Queensland, Darren Nicholls said the Oaky Creek North win is a testament to the company’s commitment to running safe operations.
“The team’s victory is the result of excellent preparation, significant expertise and the ability to execute the required skills under a range of pressures,” he said.
“This competition is beneficial to our industry’s safety standards as it enables mine teams to hone and test their skills in a live, competitive environment.”
Highlighting the point about preparation, the Glencore team undertook three weeks of intense training at Cook Colliery, the Tieri fire station and the Dysart Mines Rescue Facility before the event.
Captained by Jim Young, members of the Oaky Creek North team included Lenny Suluvale, Luke Vella, Tim Trewin, Steve Dawe, Michael Corrie, James Vardanega and Jason Krebs.
The team is already planning its defence for 2014.