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Mining teams battle it out in rescue games

Mining teams from across Queensland and New South Wales have put their endurance and skills to the test in a rescue competition at Ipswich’s Jeebropilly Mine.

The series of mock emergency rescue exercises were carried out in an 11 hour test for the Southern Queensland Mine Rescue Challenge.

Eight teams were tested on different disciplines which would be needed in an emergency response, including vertical rescue, confined space, road crash rescue, fire fighting, multi casualty triage, Hazmat and land search rescue.

Diesel fitter at New Hope Group’s Jeebropilly mine, Nathan Thompson, took part in the competition for the first time. He said it was an incredible learning experience.

“I’ve never done anything like it before,” Mr Thompson said.

“It was such a great learning day, and we picked up skills that could save a life one day.”

“Everyone in a mine site does first aid, but this was over and above, with situations that were so life-like.”

Expert make-up artists were onsite to create gruesomely realistic effects on volunteer actors, who stood in as casualites.

“The actors in the scenarios were so good that it was a bit nerve-wracking because it seemed so real,” Mr Thompson said.

“They were actually screaming when we were helping them with a broken ankle, and you know it’s fake, but it does get you in the mindset of how to react if something like this were to happen.

“You don’t ever want to go through it but if you do, this kind of training is just so important to have.”

Dawson Anglo America won the competition, with New Acland Coal and Commodore Downer EDI rounding out the top three.

Teams from Exploration, Bengalla, Kogan Creek CS Energy and Meandu Stanwell also took part.

Mr Thompson said that while his Jeebropilly team might have missed out on a place, the spirit amongst the teams was far more about comradery than competition.

“We had pretty limited knowledge compared to some of the guys, but the assessors marked us according to our different levels of training, and it wasn’t so much about there being a right or wrong way about doing something, but about doing it the safe way,” he said.

“Everyone got on really well and the teams and assessors were fantastic in steering us in the right direction.”

The 5am start was also made easier by a bacon and egg brekky, put on by the Rosewood Lions club.

Jeebropilly Mine was specifically chosen as the host of this year’s challenge event due to the 47th anniversary of Box Flat Mine disaster.

The event was opened by Hugh Taylor from the Ipswich Historical Society at the Miners Memorial in Limestone Park on Friday afternoon, where participants paid their respects to the fallen miners of the Ipswich region.

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