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Pogo Mine Rescue Team Earns Awards in All Categories at Competition

Mine Rescue: Pogo Mine Rescue team members (L-R) Brian Biotti, Jake Pinske, and Rocky Ketchum wearing breathing apparatus while working through a simulated mine to evoke a rescue.

Mine Rescue: Pogo Mine Rescue team members (L-R) Brian Biotti, Jake Pinske, and Rocky Ketchum wearing breathing apparatus while working through a simulated mine to evoke a rescue.

PHOTO: Pogo Mine

Fairbanks, Alaska – The Pogo Mine rescue won awards in all categories at the Central Mine Rescue competition May 17-19, 2012 in Kellogg, Idaho.

Danny Peterson, director of Central Mine Rescue, noted, “The Pogo team swept every contest with a first-place win in 2011 which just made the other teams train that much harder for 2012. This year Pogo still placed in every category.”


PHOTO: Pogo Mine

Competition Team. Back row L-R: Brad Ketola (team trainer), Jeff Simpson, Brian Biotti. Front row L-R: Pat Sullivan (Safety Superintendent), Ken Shuster, Josh Murrell, Dave Brottem, Jake Pinske, Rocky Ketchum.

The competition was made up of the following components: First Aid, Team Technicians, Rope Rescue, and a Main Mine Rescue Field Event. Not only are teams’ abilities tested, but all categories included a written examination whereby team members’ knowledge was demonstrated by answering an assortment of written questions.

“Mine rescue competitions assure the industry and the community that the rescue teams are well trained and capable of responding to mine emergencies,” said Pogo Mine General Manager Chris Kennedy. “I’m proud of the work and the results of the Pogo team. This is an intense competition and these guys kept their focus squarely on safety. They demonstrated their skills and dedication as well as learning from the other teams.”

In the First Aid competition, the scenario of an accident is set up and the Mine Rescue Teams respond by giving the appropriate first aid care for the injuries at hand. Pogo Mine placed second in the First Aid competition.

The Team Technicians event tests the team leader’s ability to properly clean and test breathing apparatus that is used during mine rescue work. The objective of this event is to locate (and correct, if possible) any problems with breathing apparatus as quickly as possible. Pogo Mine placed third in the Team Technicians category.

The Rope Rescue Team category is a timed event that measures the team’s technical skills by performing a rescue using ropes and established rigging techniques in a safe and effective manner. Pogo Mine placed third in the Rope Rescue Team event.

In the Main Mine Rescue Field Event, an underground emergency situation is simulated and the teams must respond by working together to identify and solve the problem and rescue any survivors. This event is the most challenging and combines many of the skills that are used to be successful in the events listed above. Pogo Mine placed second in the Main Mine Rescue Field Event.

Pogo’s Mine Rescue competition team members are Josh Murrell of Palmer, AK, Jake Pinske of Kenai, AK, Brian Biotti of Pinehurst, ID, Rocky Ketchum of Boise, ID, Jeff Simpson of Portland, OR, Ken Shuster of Wasilla, AK, and Dave Brottem, of Fairbanks, AK.

Pogo Mine’s team was joined in the competition by teams from the following mines: Hecla’s Greens Creek Mine (Juneau, AK), Kinross’s Buckhorn Mine (WA), Teck’s Pend Oreille Mine (WA), Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine (ID), US Silver’s Galena Mine (ID), and Revett Minerals’ Troy Mine (MT).

The competition was organized by Central Mine Rescue in cooperation with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The 2012 event is the 31st competition the organization has hosted. Central Mine Rescue is an organization comprised of nine member mines with an agreement to share mine rescue resources in the event of an emergency at any member mine.

 

Pogo Mine is located northwest of Delta Junction, Alaska. The mine is operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining Company and is a Joint Venture between Sumitomo Metal Mining Company and Sumitomo Corporation with 85% and 15% ownership shares respectively. Final Permits and Authorizations were issued for the Pogo Mine Project in December 2003. Mine construction was completed in 2006 and commercial production was achieved in April 2007. The mine produces approximately 350,000 ounces of gold annually and maintains a workforce of more than 330 direct employees and an additional 150 contractors.

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