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Vale Wins Manitoba Provincial Mine Rescue Competition

May 29, 2023

SNOW LAKE, Manitoba

Team Vale took home first place at the 60th Manitoba Provincial Mine Rescue Competition held May 26-27, 2023, followed closely by the Manitoba Mutual Aid Team. It's the first time since 2016 that Vale has won the competition, showing just how much practice, dedication and hard work their team has put in to grow their skills and advance their performance.

This year also marks the first time a 'Mutual Aid Team', joined the competition, lead by a Captain and Director of Operations from the host team, plus four team members from across all of Manitoba's mining stations. "Mutual Aid is a pivotal concept within mine rescue...", said competition Co-chair Richard Trudeau, and Director, Health and Safety, HR, Indigenous & External Affairs at Hudbay Minerals. "...Fielding a Mutual Aid team really ramped-up the excitement, determination, and level of competitiveness throughout our two-day event," he added.

"The fact that every mine rescue team in Manitoba won an award in the competition this year is a true demonstration of the quality of the program across the province," said Stacy Kennedy, competition Co-Chair and Head of Manitoba Operations Vale. "Our Runner Up being a Mutual Aid Team made up of mine rescue specialists from every mine is just further proof of this, Kennedy said. "Mine Rescue is such an important and integral part of a mine's operating culture, and being part of a mine rescue team is a lifetime commitment for most who participate, so it's hard to explain just how monumental these wins are for the teams and individuals that compete."

Each year MAMI's two-day Mine Rescue Competition challenges competitors in several areas. Day one saw teams from, Hudbay Snow Lake, Tanco, Vale and Manitoba Mutual Aid compete in an underground and first aid mine rescue mission, followed by a written exam. The morning of day two focused on firefighting tests and the Technician's competition, the afternoon was spent on a tactical skills competition.

According to Kennedy "In honour of this milestone 60th year, the Tactical Skills Event was truly a 'once-in-a-lifetime' course, that was spectacular for competitors and onlookers alike." The course was designed by Marshall Manns of Hudbay Snow Lake, and implemented by specialists from Grainger, Servco Scaffolding, Milwaukee Tools and Draeger Canada. "We also had a visit from Vale's Rocky the Rescue Robot during the Tactical Skills Event to the delight of the local spectators, especially the kids..." she added.

The events and awards banquet were very well-attended this year, with honoured guests including Tom Lindsay, MLA for Flin Flon; Ron Scott, Mayor of Snow Lake and representative for Snow Lake Lithium; Alisa Ramrattan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Labour and Immigration; Crystal Baldwin, Executive Director, Manitoba Workplace, Safety and Health; and Tafa Kennedy, Director, Manitoba Geological Survey also on-hand.

"Our Mine Rescue Competition and teams are world class, and each year the standard of competition continues to rise," said Trudeau. "We're just so proud of them all."

In 2024 Manitoba's Provincial Mine Rescue Competition will be hosted by Tantalum Mining Corporation, on May 24-25 in Bernic Lake, Manitoba.


Champions: Vale-Manitoba Operations

Captain Sean McKenzie

#2 position Martin Murphy

#3 position Ricki Stabback

#4 position Rob Chuipka

Vice-Captain Mathew Herman

Dir. Of Operations Alfred Szabo

Coach Kelly Edwards

Senior Instructor Mike McDonald


Runner Up: Manitoba Mutual Aid

Captain George Warman (SL)

#2 position Keenan Evans (Tanco)

#3 position Corey Zaharia (Tanco)

#4 position Kelly Kopeechuk (Vale)

Vice-Captain Terry Ferguson (Vale)

Dir. of Operations Bob Forsyth (SL)


Technician's Award Sean McKenzie (Vale)

Tactical Skills Event Blue Team

Written Exam Vale - Manitoba Operations


First Aid Award Hudbay Snow Lake

Captain Mike Desjarlais

#2 position Taylor Thiessen

#3 position Andrew Rachuk

#4 position Travis Fedak

Vice-Captain Katerina Njegoven

Dir. of Operations Jon Young

Technician Bernard Fourie

Coaches Terry Hornyak, Tracy Knutson, T Trevor Thurstan


Firefighting Tanco (Tantalum Mining Corp.)

Captain Greg Bellin

#2 position Barrett Bedarf

#3 position Ryan Karklin

#4 position Corbin Watkinson

Vice-Captain Joel Barrett

Dir. of Operations Len Bellin

Technician Chris Wazny

Coach Simon Nolan

Senior Instructor Craig Kulbaba


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