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Keeping your cool under pressure is a tough ask on a hot day but eight highly-skilled mines rescue teams proved their mettle in a national competition on Thursday, 19 October.

Working calmly to reduce hazards and treat mock patients, the teams completed eight high-pressure exercises at Moranbah North Mine in Queensland for the 59th annual Australian Underground Coal Mines Rescue competition.

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 fire-fighting.

The simulated real-life scenarios included longwall rock falls, grinder and crush injuries, drift fires and even snake bites. Each simulation had a time limit and assessors scored each element of the test.

Grosvenor’s Mines Rescue team took home the shield while sister Anglo American mine and host site Moranbah North came runner-up. South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal’s Dendrobium team, representing the Southern NSW Mines Rescue district, came third.

Dendrobium team captain, Robert Monkley, was emotional as he took the stand.

“In the almost 20 years that the mine has been running, this is the first time that a team from Dendrobium has competed at an Australian comp. I’ve been part of mines rescue since 2015 and today was probably the hardest comp I’ve ever done.

“I am so proud of the team’s performance. It was a tough event in challenging conditions against remarkably highly-skilled teams. Congratulations to the winning teams and everyone who competed today.

“Special thanks to Southern Mines Rescue for their training and support, and to our General Manager Simon Thomas for his ongoing support of the team,” Robert said.

NSW Mines Rescue Service General Manager Alaster Wylie said the annual competitions challenged the proficiency of brigade members’ emergency response and recovery techniques.

“The competition aids in testing the team members’ capability and response with realistic scenarios that build their confidence to respond in a variety of scenarios,” he said.

“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.”

The top placed teams from the 2022 and 2023 competitions are expected to be invited to the International Mines Rescue Competition in Colombia in 2024.

Representing NSW:
•         Peabody Wambo (Hunter Valley)
•         South32 Dendrobium (Southern)
•         Centennial Springvale (Western)
•         Newcastle team comprised of brigade members from different mine sites  

Representing Qld:
•         Anglo American Grosvenor
•         Anglo American Moranbah North
•         Kestrel
•         BMA Broadmeadow

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