OHS Canada Magazine

Team from Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines takes top honours at Ontario Mine Rescue competition

Avatar photo

June 21, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Mining Ontario Mine Rescue

Volunteer mine rescue responders (left to right) Serge Roy, Shane Sullivan, Natalie Lafontaine, Brandon Duhan, and Blade Cashmore, from the winning team, Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines, review the information for the mock mine rescue scenario staged at the underground Hagersville Mine. Eight teams tested their skills in a simulated mine rescue underground at the 2023 Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition held in June at the Canadian Gypsum Canada Mine.

The team from Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines went underground — and came out on top in Ontario Mine Rescue’s provincial competition.

The competition took place from June 13 to June 16 at Canadian Gypsum Company Mine in Hagersville, Ont., and was designed to test the skills of different mine teams. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Hamilton on the final evening.

“We’re very proud to announce that Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines came out on top,” said Ted Hanley, vice-president for Ontario Mine Rescue. “At this competition, teams from eight different mining districts in Ontario came together to compete. These teams had been training for two months leading up to the event. The competition was a way to see how well they could handle a simulated mine emergency.”

Week-long event

During the week-long event, the teams were evaluated on their knowledge and abilities related to mine rescue work. They had to take written exams to test their technical knowledge, and they also had to demonstrate various skills, according to a press release from Workplace Safety North.

Some of the skills they were tested on included things like rope rescue, emergency management, using specialized breathing apparatus, firefighting, and providing first aid. The underground mock emergency scenario involved demanding physical work and decision-making ability under stress.


The 2023 Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition was held in June at the Canadian Gypsum Canada Mine in Hagersville. Eight teams tested their skills in a simulated mine rescue underground, with Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines pictured above. Lake Shore Gold won the coveted gold hardhats and trophy this year.

Unlike the district competitions, which are held in arenas where they build a simulated mine, this provincial competition actually took place in a real underground mine. Spectators watched the teams’ progress through camera feeds from the surface. The teams had to navigate the mine and deal with different hazards, just like they would in a real emergency situation.

This year’s competition scenario involved a few different challenges. The teams had to rescue a civilian who had fallen into a mine shaft, use drones to assess unstable and collapsed mine areas, put out an underground vehicle fire, and rescue a trapped mine worker from a collapse.

Technical expert judges were placed throughout the mine. These judges evaluated the teams based on a set list of criteria that followed the guidelines and procedures for mine rescue in Ontario.

“All eight teams did a great job and successfully resolved the emergency scenario,” said Hanley. “They were evaluated on how well they created an emergency action plan, how quickly and skillfully they completed the rescue tasks, and how they prioritized safety.”

Provincial champions

The 2023 Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition winning team is Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines from left to right (back row): Jason Leger – OMR, Serge Roy, Natalie Lafontaine, Blade Cashmore, Brandon Duhan, Shane Sullivan, Jordan Tilley; (front row): Jim Davis, Adam Weagle, and Terry Roy. The team won the coveted gold hard hats and will have their plaque engraved for the trophy.

At the end of the competition, the Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines team came out on top and were crowned the Provincial Champions.

The Ontario Mine Rescue provincial competition is a way to see how mine rescue teams handle different emergency situations, and how these teams work together and use their skills to keep people safe in mines.

Provincial Champion – 1st Overall – Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines

  • Captain Adam Weagle
  • #2 – Shane Sullivan
  • #3 – Brandon Duhan
  • #4 – Blade Cashmore
  • #5 (Vice Captain) Natalie Lafontaine
  • #6 – Serge Roy
  • Briefing Officer – Terry Roy
  • Coach – Jim Davis
  • Mine Rescue Officers – Jason Leger, Mat Johnson, Danny Taillefer

2nd Overall – Newmont, Musselwhite Mine

Individual Technician Competition results:

  • 1st – Jean-Yves Doiron, Vale Sudbury East Mines, Sudbury District
  • 2nd – Michael Bennett, Glencore Kidd Mine, Timmins District
  • 3rd – Kyle Oullette, Alamos Gold, Island Gold Mine, Algoma District

Team Firefighting Award – Vale Sudbury East Mines

Team First Aid Award – Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser and Nickel Rim South Mines

Team Special Equipment Award (Rope Rescue) – Vale Sudbury East Mines

Team Theory Exam Award – Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser and Nickel Rim South Mines

Briefing Officer Award – Ryan Lepage, Newmont, Musselwhite Mine

Complete list of eight competing teams:

  • Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine (Kirkland Lake District)
  • Compass Minerals Goderich Mine (Southern District)
  • Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser- Nickel Rim South Mines (Onaping District)
  • Impala Canada Lac des Iles Mine (Thunder Bay District)
  • Lake Shore Gold Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines (Timmins District)
  • Newmont Borden Mine (Algoma District)
  • Newmont Musselwhite Mine (Red Lake District)
  • Vale Sudbury East Mines (Sudbury District)

Individual competitors scoring perfect on written exam:

  • Alexa Dumaine (Newmont Musselwhite Mine)
  • Brad Kemp (Impala Canada Lac des Isles Mine)
  • Adam Weagle and Natalie Lafontaine (Lake Shore Timmins West-Bell Creek Mines)
  • Hubert Gour (Agnico Eagle Macassa Mine)
  • Julien Lalande and Jesse Legault (Glencore Sudbury INO Fraser-Nickel Rim South Mines)

The OMR program is a standardized province-wide collaboration between all mine operators working to ensure emergency response capability and reduce the risk profile of the work performed by more than 900 Ontario volunteer mine rescue responders.

Provincial competitions have been held since 1950 as a standardized evaluation to ensure all mines in the province follow the same strict mine rescue procedures. Competitions test each team’s emergency response capabilities and showcase the tremendous commitment mine rescue teams make for their mines and mining communities.

OMR was established in 1929, a year after an underground fire at the Hollinger Mine in Timmins claimed the lives of 39 miners. OMR has evolved since then into a full emergency response service for all mine emergencies including fires, explosions, falls of ground and the entrapment of miners.

A part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), OMR has trained and equipped thousands of volunteers who have fought fires, rescued injured personnel, and responded professionally to a wide array of incidents in the province’s mines over the past nine decades.

For more information, visit https://www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/subsite/ontario-mine-rescue


Stories continue below