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Back to Resourceful June 2021

Mine Rescue teams test their mettle at emergency response competition

Glencore’s Mine Rescue teams performed strongly at the Minerals Council of Australia Northern Australia Emergency Response Competition (NAERC 2021) held in Darwin last month.

Mount Isa Mines and Ernest Henry Mining joined forces to field a combined Queensland Metals team, competing against experienced crews from around the region including South32, Newmont, Rio Tinto and our sister operation, Glencore’s McArthur River Mine.

Despite the grueling emergency challenges, the Queensland Metals team took out first prize in the Underground Search and Rescue and Hazardous Materials Response categories, while placing third in the competition overall.

The combined Queensland Metals team (left to right): Brendon Twyman, Scott Jolly, Andre Hammond, Jackson White, Albert Young, Jimmy Brown and James Say.

The top honours went to Glencore’s McArthur River Mine as best overall team while receiving a host of other accolades across the categories of Team Safety, Fire Fighting, Rescue from Heights and First Aid.

NAERC is an integral part of emergency response training and something our Emergency Response Teams have relished competing in for many years.

The competition provides the rescue teams with the chance to test their skills in the field through a simulated real-life emergency while being judged by professional adjudicators and officials.

The scenarios, which are designed to be the closest thing the teams will get to a real emergency, include firefighting, first aid, rescue from heights, breathing apparatus skills, underground search and rescue, hazardous materials and road accident rescue.

James Say and Andre Hammond in action in one of the emergency scenarios.
The Queensland Metals team preparing for the underground search and rescue challenge.

In addition to sending a Queensland Metals Mine Rescue team, a team Marshall and a volunteer casualty also went along to assist with the running of the competition.

Queensland Metals Team Vice-Captain, Scott Jolly, says a fully trained and capable Mines Rescue team is particularly important in remote locations like the Ernest Henry Mine located outside Cloncurry, given the extended emergency services response times.

“Sending teams to these types of events displays Glencore’s commitment to safety and the personal development of members within the Mines Rescue teams,” says Scott.

“This competition is a great opportunity for our people to gain exposure to different rescue techniques and equipment, and to learn from some of the best in the industry.”

The team heading into Darwin’s World War II oil tunnels.
The dark conditions inside the tunnels.

“Having joint representation from Mount Isa Mines and Ernest Henry Mining gave us the chance to share our skills, knowledge and experiences that could provide invaluable if and when the need arises,” Scott says.

Queensland Metals Team Manager, Tyrone Campbell, says NAERC is taken very seriously.

“Our Mines Rescue teams need to be fit, engaged and ready to attend to any emergency across our operations, and participating in this competition is an excellent way to test their capability,” says Tyrone.

“In a real emergency, our team members are required to make quick decisions under extreme circumstances and while physically fatigued.”

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Brendon Twyman and Scott Jolly at work assisting a casualty with serious injuries. These skills are used to assist in emergencies in the communities where we operate.

“Simulations like NAERC allow the adjudicators to closely observe the teams and assist them in reducing their hazards and developing their skills as much as possible.”

“NAERC also plays an important part in developing the team’s confidence, communication skills and their ability to work together successfully,” Tyrone says.

Congratulations to all team members who participated in NAERC 2021 and to those who continue to play a very important part in the Mount Isa Mines and Ernest Henry Mining Mine Rescue teams.

For those working at Glencore who are interested in joining our Emergency Response teams, please contact your local Mine Rescue Supervisors for information on the recruitment process.