Agnico Eagle’s Macassa mine took the top spot at the provincial Mine Rescue championship for the first time since its last win in 1986. Courtesy of Ontario Mine Rescue.

Agnico Eagle’s Macassa mine has come out on top in the 2024 provincial Ontario Mine Rescue competition, which took place from June 4 to 7 at an arena in Thunder Bay. Eight teams participated in this year’s competition, tackling challenges that tested out mine rescue volunteers’ emergency response skills. Before making it to the final provincial competition, more than 20 teams from various districts across Ontario battled it out in regional competitions from May 8 to 10, with eight out of those 20 teams making it into the provincial championship. 

Each year, the Ontario Mine Rescue competition requires participants to undergo a series of tests that are split into live scenarios and theory-based tests. Skills that are tested include how to use special equipment, firefighting, first aid and more. Each task needs to be completed by the teams within a certain timeframe 

This year’s provincial edition kicked off with a live scenario that required teams to respond to a staged motor vehicle collision (MVC) near the entrance of a simulated mine site. Each team was expected to remove two individuals from the vehicle before tracking down and putting out a fire under the hood of the vehicle. With this assignment, the teams were given the chance to test their familiarity with hydraulic rescue equipment and their first aid skills. 

The next challenge was a simulated underground mine activity. April Belecque and Nick Perrier, two members of Agnico Eagle’s Macassa mine team, received information that an underground fire, caused by two loci batteries, was extinguished already with foam.  

The Macassa mine team believed the challenge had already been completed, until Perrier noticed smoke coming from deeper within the mine. 

That’s what set us off into trying to investigate how we could either clear the smoke or locate the source of it,” Perrier said.   

Upon further investigation in the dark, smokey mine, the team came upon an unexpected fire, which was caused by a glowing-hot conveyor belt. In a sign of teamwork, the Macassa mine team received help from Gary Bennett, a technician from Alamos Gold, who aided the team in extinguishing the surprise fire.  

Unlike last year’s Ontario Mine Rescue, held at an operating mine, this year’s edition was held at an arena designed to mimic a real mine site since there were not any operating mines close enough to hold the competition at. 

They did a really good job of making it work and look realistic," said Perrier.  

In preparing for the competition, Perrier explained that, on top of physical training for the activities, studying the Mine Rescue handbook was essential. It’s basically our bible," he said. We’ve been reading it pretty much on a nightly basis for the last seven weeks." The team also spent a significant amount of time practising with the equipment they knew they would rely on for the challenges, especially firefighting equipment. 

An awards ceremony held on June 7 celebrated the Macassa mine team, who snagged the provincial championship for the first time since 1986. The runner-up for this year’s competition was Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek, which won last year’s provincial competition 

Aside from the championship trophy, five awards were given out to several teams in recognition of their efforts during specific challenges, such as the First Aid Award and the John Guthrie Special Equipment Award. 

Glencore’s Kidd Creek mine, located north of Timmins, Ontario, is being considered as the site for next year’s Mine Rescue provincial competition. 

Ontario Mine Rescue competitions, which first began in 1950, take place every year and are operated by Workplace Safety North under the authority of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. To learn more about the competitions and to see the winning teams from previous years, visit