Mines rescue brigades from across New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld) descended upon the Moolarben mining district to compete in the 57th annual Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition on Thursday, 17 October 2019.
The Anglo-Amercian team from Grosvenor were named the 2019 Australian Underground Mines Rescue champions at a presentation dinner that evening. The win breaks the winning streak held by NSW teams since 2015. The Kestrel team were runners-up, followed by Moranbah North who took out third place. the annual event sees the top mines rescue brigades vie for the national title. Teams qualified for the event after winning regional events earlier in the year across NSW and Qld.
The Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue Competition is run by a committee of joint representatives from NSW Mines Rescue and Queensland Mines Rescue. It is hosted on a rotational basis each year and held in different mining regions.
The primary purpose of Mines Rescue is to provide emergency response to the industry in the case of an emergency. Events like these allow the brigades to test and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.
The day’s format includes several underground and surface simulation exercises to demonstrate knowledge and the use of equipment in realistic scenarios, including exercises to test hazard awareness, underground search and rescue, first aid and fire-fighting.
Queensland Mines Rescue Chief Executive Officer David Carey said hosting an event of this nature takes months of planning to identify the successes and improvement opportunities presented in previous events and to develop scenarios.
“Congratulations to the winning teams, as well as to Yancoal’s Moolarben mine, the organising committee, QMRS support personnel and NSW Mines Rescue for their efforts in planning and bringing this all together,” he said.
‘This truly is an important event for the Australian underground coal mining industry. It brings together the best mines rescue teams from Australian underground coal mines to compete and demonstrate their skills and knowledge. At the end of the day we celebrate the success of the best team on the day but it’s the industry that gains the most from the experience and learnings gained by team members.’
NSW Mines Rescue General Manager, Wayne Green congratulated all the teams for their efforts during the day.
‘In the few short months I have been with NSW Mines Rescue, I have been privileged to witness the unwavering dedication and commitment of brigades personnel and the people who train them. This event showcases the best of their efforts and acknowledges the exceptional skills that have earned their place to compete at this level.’
‘The mines rescue competitions run across NSW and QLD – and indeed this competition – are of the highest calibre; the result of countless hours of planning to deliver realistic scenarios to challenge and test brigades capabilities and ensure a memorable experience for all,’ he said.
Steve Archinal, General Manager of Yancoal’s Moolarben Coal Operations, said the mine was pleased to host the competition.
‘This is a great opportunity for Yancoal to demonstrate our safety leadership and commitment to the health and welfare of not only our own employees, but all of the underground industry. Our focus is on ensuring our workforce remains safe. These events ensure that the skills of those we entrust, in the unfortunate event of an emergency, are able to be tested and honed, which should provide some comfort to our local community and beyond. It has been our pleasure to be involved this year,’ he said.
Grosvenor team captain, Boyd Buschmann, recognised the efforts of the teams and those involved with planning and executing the competition.
‘The competition really tested us and pushed us out of our comfort zone, which is a great testament to the way the competition was run. Thank you to the District Assessors from Qld and NSW, who go to great lengths to make the competition more realistic each year and replicate real-life situations we could be faced with one day.’
‘These competitions are an important way to hone our skills in case we’re ever called on to undertake a rescue and I’m very proud of our team’s hard work, dedication and professionalism. On the day, everyone stepped up and performed incredibly well.’
‘Our core Grosvenor team has been together for around five years and I’ve had the privilege of being captain for four of those. Having the support of an outstanding vice-captain and a team of competent rescue members has been one of the keys to our success. The support we’ve had from Anglo American and the Grosvenor Mine team has also been terrific; they’ve gotten right behind us and we really appreciate that.’
‘I also extend my congratulations to the other teams that competed, including our colleagues from Moranbah North Mine who finished in third place.’