Safety awards from coast to coast

The past week has seen mine safety awards handed out in both Queensland and Western Australia.

The team from Perth-based Xstrata Nickel Cosmos has emerged victorious at the CME (Chamber of Minerals & Energy) Underground Mine Emergency Response Competition held in the Western Australian Goldfields over the weekend.

More than 14 mine rescue teams from across WA participated in the competition, held at Barrick Gold’s Bullant Gold Mine.

CME eastern regional council chair Russell Cole praised the efforts of all those involved in organising the competition.

“The efforts of the competing teams, adjudicators, sponsors and volunteers over this weekend demonstrate our industry’s unwavering commitment to zero injuries and fatalities,” he said.

According to Cole, the attendance of Norman Moore, the State’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, highlighted the competition’s critical role in improving the safety record of the WA resources sector.

Xstrata Nickel Cosmos beat out Barrick Yilgarn and Newcrest Telfer for the top spot.

On the east coast, an Emerald mine worker won a major Queensland Government mining safety and health award.

Doug Willis, a control room operator at Rio Tinto’s Kestrel Mine in central Queensland, was last week named the 2009 Peter Dent Simtars Gas Chromatographer of the Year.

The Peter Dent award is awarded each year by Queensland Mines and Energy’s (QME) Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (Simtars) to test the skills of mine chromatograph operators using the Camgas mine gas monitoring system.

According to QME Simtars director Paul Harrison, the work of chromatographers plays an essential role in mine safety through monitoring and analysing potentially-explosive gases in underground mines.

“Gas explosions and outbursts have been responsible for more than 150 deaths during Queensland’s underground coal mining history,” he said.

“That’s why mines must remain so vigilant; why they need the best gas monitoring technology available; and why they need the best gas monitoring system operators to run them.”

Willis emerged ahead of runner-up Russell Brennan of Moranbah North coal mine and the 2008 Peter Dent winner, Brent Stewart of Broadmeadow.

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