Thursday, November 2, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Emergency response capabilities were put to the test as eight highly-skilled mines rescue teams proved their mettle in a national competition at Moranbah North Mine last month.
Anglo American teams from Grosvenor and Moranbah North mines won first and second place respectively at the 59th annual Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition after a gruelling day. South 32’s Dendrobium Blue from Wollongong NSW came in third.
The day’s format included 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 firefighting. The simulated real-life scenarios included longwall rock falls, grinder and crush injuries, drift fires and even snake bites.
Queensland Mines Rescue Service, General Manager, Ray Smith, said the competition provided an opportunity for teams to respond to simulations of real-life emergency situations and demonstrate agility and teamwork.
“The annual competitions challenge the proficiency of brigade members’ emergency response and recovery techniques,” he said.
“They get confidence and understand their limitations, especially around firefighting and patient care.
“That heightened awareness definitely gives them something else they take back to their coal mine; confident they can deal with any sort of situation.
“We want to see every coal mine worker go back home safely, so events like these allow the brigades to test and hone their skills in preparation for the unfortunate circumstance where they may be called upon.
“With their skills, experience and teamwork they will, at the end of the competition, be a much better team.”
Moranbah North Mine General Manager Paul Green said these competitions provided an invaluable opportunity to enhance skills and training.
“It's about having a very capable skill set of people with the readiness to deploy and save lives,” he said.
“It's important for us to have these skills in the industry as safety is paramount.
“This becomes vitally important when we provide our services to other mines when we need to help them out from time to time.”
Mr Green said the friendly rivalry between the sister mines added a unique dimension to this national competition for him but commended all teams on their grit in physically and mentally demanding state competitions to get there.
Grosvenor team captain Boyd Buschmann said he thought the state competition at Carborough Downs was the toughest competition his team had encountered but Moranbah North had put on a challenging event too.
“Carborough Downs was very technical and probably pushed us to places we hadn't been before. Today was more physical but the team soldiered on and persevered,” he said.
Thanking all competitors, volunteers and families at a dinner after the event, Moranbah North Mine captain Scott Ryan said there would not be a competition without families supporting each of the teams through their training.
Competing for Queensland were Anglo American’s mines near Moranbah, Grosvenor mine and Moranbah North mine, as well as BMA-owned Broadmeadow mine and Kestrel mine – all in the Bowen Basin. Teams from Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Southern and Western Mines Rescue represented NSW.
The Grosvenor and Moranbah North teams are expected to be invited to an international competition in Colombia in 2024.
Moranbah North Mines Rescue captain Scott Ryan and Grosvenor Mines Rescue captain Boyd Buschmann
Anglo American's Grosvenor mines rescue team won the 2023 Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition
Anglo American's Moranbah North mines rescue team came runner-up
Mines rescue teams in action for the 2023 Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue comp