Dozens of volunteers from across the Goldfields will this weekend converge on Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s annual Underground Mine Emergency Response competition.

Hosted at KCGM’s Mount Charlotte underground mine, the competition will pit mine rescue teams from across the region against each other as they look to notch up points by tackling mock emergency situations played out by volunteer actors.

CME Goldfields Manager Rowena Olsen said emergency scenarios would range from underground firefighting to rope rescues and the competition would be fierce.

“Everybody wants the first place trophy and they put that up in prime position on the site and we have to pry it out of their hands to get it back for the next competition,” she said.

“The scenarios are different each year and they go in blind — that’s the whole point.

“It’s about continuous improvement, which is what industry is all about.”

Mines rescue has a proud history in the Goldfields as sport and training, stretching back more than a century.

The CME’s Kalgoorlie-Boulder office holds trophies dating back to 1903, when the event was known as the Ambulance and Rescue Corps Challenge Cup.

After winning the title of best team last year, KCGM put up its hand to host this year’s event.

It means the miner’s underground operations at Mount Charlotte will grind to a halt to make way for the event.

Ms Olsen said it was a generous show of support by KCGM.

“You get to go underground and you get to set stuff on fire and you never get to do that anywhere else,” she said.

“That’s the crux of it, they get to really do different activities that they would otherwise not be able to do.”

Mine Rescue committee chairman Marty Keates said the underground competition was unique to WA. “It’s only delivered in the Goldfields and therefore has a fantastic reputation of delivering high-quality, realistic scenarios, designed to really challenge the competing teams,” he said.

“The competition serves two major purposes: testing teams’ skills in a controlled environment, but also providing feedback in debriefing sessions, which is crucial for continuous improvement.”

The event begins tonight with a sponsors’ expo at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club and a theory exam.

Practical underground tests will wrap up on Sunday, with presentations that night.

 

Image: CME Undreground Mine Emergency Response Competition at Gold Fields St Ives. Northern Star tend to a casualty at the fire scenario, Kalgoorlie Miner.